Gatehouse and gate (Ketlar labour camp)

Every camp had only one entrance: the main gate. Beside the gate was a gatehouse, of which one half was located inside the camp and the other half outside. Individuals could pass through the gatehouse into the camp.

Watch Václav Djačuk’s whole story

All necessary materials and supplies entered the camp via the main gate. But more importantly it was there that prisoners themselves arrived and departed. Before leaving to work at sites outside the camp they were lined up (most often in rows of five) at the gate and counted by guards. The same was done on their return, when prisoners were also searched.

Some prisoners were allowed to move independently outside the camp without supervision. These included administrative workers and employees of workshops, bakeries, etc.

Alexander Snovsky remembers how he was granted free movement: “After getting out of solitary I met Mishka: ‘You’ve got a day release pass at the gatehouse,’ he said. I couldn’t believe it – right after solitary. I got to the gatehouse and said that I’d got a release pass. The gatekeeper silently went through the pigeonholes, pulled out a kind of little book and handed it to me. Then he opened the latch and I walked out of the zone. The feeling can’t be described.”


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