Prison building 5a, Barabanicha labour camp

This type of building measures 26m x 8m and is divided by an internal wall into two equal halves with separate entrances. Each part housed 40–50 prisoners.

Watch Jan Plovajko’s whole story

This is the best preserved building that we found in 15 camps along the Dead Road. Both halves contain almost completely preserved prisoners’ bunk beds, complete with visible traces of prisoners’ name cards, while in the front parts of both halves there are two changing rooms that even have numbers on the hooks. At the stove there are a dustpan and brush used by prisoners to clean the floors – strict attention was paid to cleanliness in barracks. A barrel of drinking water stood in the hallway by the entrance to each. Decorations created by rollers can be seen on the walls – in each barracks these decorations differ, as do the colours of the bunk beds and other decorative objects.

“From the start, before all the quarters were built, we lived up to 200 people to a room. Later there were 30 to 50 of us. The little rooms by the entrance to the barracks served for operational purposes: in one boots dried, in another a wash basin was set up. At the start, when they took us here, all of the facilities were outside – we washed in the snow,” recalls Vasily Basovsky of conditions in camps along the Dead Road.

There are electric lighting cables on the building’s ceiling and beams. The majority of camps on the Dead Road were fully electrified, powered by generating stations built by the prisoners themselves.


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