Online museum of the Gulag

A unique website introducing visitors to the Soviet labour camp system

Author: Gulag.cz

  • Guard tower at an abandoned labour camp

  • Virtual tour of prison barracks

  • How a panoramic photograph of the camp was created

  • Solitary

  • Model of a labour camp

  • Measuring of prison bunks

  • Drawing of prison bunks

  • Prisoner’s work sheet

  • Work gloves

  • The Dead Road – Gulag Building no. 503

  • Nenets – reindeer herders in Siberia

  • Nenets – reindeer herders in Siberia

  • 2013 Expedition

  • The Dead Road – Gulag Building no. 503

  • Jan Plovajko’s labour camp release papers

  • Journey to the camps along the frozen Ob

  • Journey to the camps along the Yenisei

EUR 19,431
pledged of EUR 17,214

112%

112% completed

611 contributors pledged

Technology, Vodafone Foundation

Praha, Hlavní město Praha, Česká republika

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Mauthausen, Buchenwald, Auschwitz... everybody knows the names of Nazi concentration camps, while museums created where they stood are visited by hundreds of thousands every year.

Pechora, Kolyma, Norilsk, Yermakovo… the names of Soviet Gulag labour camps are, by contrast, far less known and not one museum has yet been built on the site of a former Stalinist concentration camp (if we don’t count Perm-36, which originated as a prison in the 1980s and which, what’s more, has been shut down by the current Russian administration).

At the same time, the Soviet Gulag system has much in common with the Nazi camps. Up to 18 million people passed through them, of which at least 1.6 million did not survive.

What are we aiming to create?

Given that it isn’t possible to travel to Russia to see a former Gulag camp, we’ve decided to make that possible on the internet at least. We have mapped the remains of genuine Gulag camps that today lie abandoned in the taiga and wish to use that research as the basis for an authentic complete 3D reconstruction and virtual tour, as well as a visualisation of found everyday items used by prisoners.  Our aim is to link all of this to the testimonies of survivors of the hell of the Soviet concentration camps. Incidentally, among the 18 million Gulag prisoners there were tens of thousands of citizens of European countries and the United States.

The project is unique in world terms as nobody has yet mapped and reconstructed abandoned Gulag camps (of which there are hundreds in far-flung spots) using state-of-the-art information technology.

Who are we?

We are a small Czech non-profit (Gulag.cz) comprised of people whose work is focused on the Gulag system (historians, filmmakers, researchers, Russian Studies experts). We cooperate with universities, experts and organisations in both Russia and Europe, though we have no financial or institutional support for the creation of an online museum. That is why we need your help to develop our plans in a professional manner.

We have the know-how!

We are by no means starting from scratch. During three expeditions in recent years we have mapped 17 abandoned Stalinist camps in northern Siberia (for more see http://gulag.cz/en/projects/expeditions). 

Our last expedition, in September 2013, gave rise to a unique panoramic tour that is now accessible at our website www.gulag.cz. This tour is the starting point for the building of an entire comprehensive online museum.

To achieve that we need quality programmers, 3D technology and animation to recreate the original form of the camps and link them to survivors’ testimonies.  We want to produce aids for teaching pupils and students within the project.  We would also like to organise further expeditions to the ruins of camps and to document them before they succumb to the inevitable decay. To that end we require new 3D scanners, drones and other technology. And more than anything plenty of time, energy and experts in numerous fields to help us create the museum. Unfortunately we are unable to finance all of this out of our own pockets.

Vodafone Foundation

Our project has attracted the interest of the Vodafone Foundation, which has decided to double the target amount if we are able to raise at least 100% from you. This means that if you contribute CZK 440,000 (15,800 EUR) to us the Foundation will double that figure!

Thank you!

The hundreds of thousands who visit former Nazi concentration camps every year are well aware that a thorough knowledge of such places and an understanding of the phenomenon of Nazism are necessary to ensure that the “brown” totalitarian past is never repeated. Help us ensure that the red totalitarian past is never repeated either. Join us in the creation of the online museum and help us preserve the memory of the Gulag!

Thank you for your support!

Štěpán Černoušek
Gulag.cz chairman, main coordinator of project


Comments

Choose reward for your contribution

  • 216

    BALANDA RECIPE

    All prisoners remember the “Balanda”, or otherwise known as concentration camp soup. In addition to bread, it formed the basis of their daily diet. But there was essentially no flavour to speak of – in fact, it was almost impossible to eat. You can check it out for yourself. We will send you the recipe for 200 crowns!

    Reward delivery: In a month

    EUR 7.82
    (CZK 200)
  • 119

    VIRTUAL SQUARE METER

    Do you want to symbolically contribute to the creation of the virtual museum? Sponsor a virtual square meter of its area! You will receive a special certificate confirming your contribution. Not to worry, there is enough for everyone – a normal camp measured 150 x 150 meters, so you do the math...

    Reward delivery: Not specified

    EUR 15.65
    (CZK 400)
  • 47

    YOUR PICTURE ON THE SHOCK WORKER BULLETIN BOARD

    Send us your photo and we will put it on the shock worker bulletin board along with your name (there were many such "honour rolls" at every camp) – but we will of course include a thank you for your support!

    Reward delivery: In a year

    EUR 23.47
    (CZK 600)
  • 85

    DVD MOVIE ABOUT EXPEDITIONS TO SIBERIA

    We filmed hours of footage during our expeditions to see abandoned concentration camps. The footage includes not only Gulags, but also a journey through beautiful Siberia. We are gradually processing the footage into a movie, and thanks to your contribution we will be able to complete the documentary. Be the first to get the film on DVD with a personal dedication!

    Reward delivery: In a year

    EUR 31.30
    (CZK 800)
  • Sold out!!

    BOOK "FROM THE HELL TO THE OLYMPUS"

    A story about Slovak citizen Ladislav Erban who was deported from Slovakia to the USSR in 1945 and spent 5 years in the Gulag (written in Czech).

    Reward delivery: In a month

    EUR 31.30
    (CZK 800)
  • 4 from 10

    NATALYA GORBANEVSKAYA: RED SQUARE AT NOON

    The poem collection by Natalya Gorbanevskaya about protests in USSR against Soviet invasion to Czechoslovakia in 1968 (written in Czech).

    Reward delivery: In a month

    EUR 35.21
    (CZK 900)
  • 7 from 10

    FOR YOURS AND OURS FREEDOME

    The book about protests in Eastern Europe against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Edited by Adam Hradílek (written in Czech).

    Reward delivery: In a month

    EUR 35.21
    (CZK 900)
  • 23

    PHOTOGRAPHS OF NATURE AND THE SIBERIAN NATIONS – A3

    Our expeditions are more than just us visiting dark concentration camps. The path to them leads through beautiful, untamed nature, and we were also able to meet members of the Siberian peoples. For example, we have beautiful photos of Nenet reindeer herders who are still wandering across the frozen plains of northern Siberia. We will let you choose and then send you the printed photo in large format with a description and an original dedication by the author.

    Reward delivery: In a quarter

    EUR 46.95
    (CZK 1,200)
  • 29

    PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE REMAINS OF A GULAG OR RAILWAY – A3

    The remains of camps, or the abandoned railway along which they are found, have a certain sense of “dark poetics”, which we tried to capture in our photographs. We will let you choose and then send you the printed photo in large format with a description and an original dedication by the author.

    Reward delivery: In a quarter

    EUR 46.95
    (CZK 1,200)
  • 6 from 10

    BOOK PACKAGE: "RED SQUARE AT NOON" and "FOR YOURS AND OURS FREEDOM"

    The poem collection by Natalya Gorbanevskaya about protests in USSR against Soviet invasion to Czechoslovakia in 1968. And the book about protests in Eastern Europe against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, For yours and ours freedom. Edited by Adam Hradílek. Both written in Czech.

    Reward delivery: In a month

    EUR 54.77
    (CZK 1,400)
  • Sold out!!

    RUSSIAN CONCENTRATION CAMP LANGUAGE COURSE

    Do you know what balanda was, or who dochoďjága or pridurok were? Concentration camp slang was so specific that normal Russians were not able to understand it. During a one-time course we will show you its specifics and teach you the basic words, and we will also listen to concentration camp songs. The course will be taught by concentration camp rover Štěpán Černoušek and other Russianists.

    Reward delivery: In half a year

    EUR 58.69
    (CZK 1,500)
  • 19

    TWO TICKETS TO THE FILM PREMIERE

    We filmed hours of footage during our expeditions to see abandoned concentration camps. The footage includes not only Gulags, but also a journey through beautiful Siberia. We are gradually processing the footage into a movie, and thanks to your contribution we will be able to complete the documentary. Receive the DVD and tickets for two to the film premiere!

    Reward delivery: In a year

    EUR 62.60
    (CZK 1,600)
  • 6

    PHOTOGRAPHS OF NATURE AND THE SIBERIAN NATIONS – A2

    Our expeditions are more than just us visiting dark concentration camps. The path to them leads through beautiful, untamed nature, and we were also able to meet members of the Siberian peoples. For example, we have beautiful photos of Nenet reindeer herders who are still wandering across the frozen plains of northern Siberia. We will let you choose and then send you the printed photo in large format with a description and an original dedication by the author.

    Reward delivery: In a quarter

    EUR 70.42
    (CZK 1,800)
  • 8

    PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE REMAINS OF A GULAG OR RAILWAY – A2

    The remains of camps, or the abandoned railway along which they are found, have a certain sense of “dark poetics”, which we tried to capture in our photographs. We will let you choose and then send you the printed photo in large format with a description and an original dedication by the author.

    Reward delivery: In a quarter

    EUR 70.42
    (CZK 1,800)
  • 7

    CONSULTATION ABOUT A TRIP TO RUSSIA

    Do you want to go somewhere in Russia? We will advise you and then put together a custom trip for you. We will share with you individually our 20 years of experience of travelling through all of Russia (not only the Gulags:), from the Caucasus to the Extreme North, and from St. Petersburg to the Far East. We will help you plan your trip according to your expectations.

    Reward delivery: In a month

    EUR 78.25
    (CZK 2,000)
  • 3 from 10

    COURSE ON CREATING PANORAMIC PHOTOGRAPHS

    Have you ever wondered how it’s possible to shoot thousands of photos somewhere in the taiga in Siberia, without electricity, in the rain and frost and make breath-taking panoramic photos of them? Come to a one-day course with photographer and traveller Pavel Blažek, who took part in the described process during our last expedition and created a panoramic tour at www.gulag.cz.

    Reward delivery: In a quarter

    EUR 117.37
    (CZK 3,000)
  • 12

    RESEARCHING THE ARCHIVES OF THE SECRET SERVICE

    Have you ever been curious about investigating the archived materials of secret services such as StB or NKVD? Or maybe you want to look for a relative with whom the totalitarian wheelworks played in the past? We will prepare a custom excursion for you to the archives and help you in your quest.

    Reward delivery: In a quarter

    EUR 195.62
    (CZK 5,000)
  • 4

    A LECTURE JUST FOR YOU

    Are you interested in how our research is carried out in detail, and how we map the abandoned camps and what pitfalls await us while staying in Siberia? We will come wherever you want us to and prepare a custom lecture for you and your friends. (But if we have to travel outside the Czech Republic you will have to contribute to our transport costs:-)

    Reward delivery: In a quarter

    EUR 391.24
    (CZK 10,000)
  • 0

    BECOME A PROJECT PARTNER

    We will place your company logo or sponsor name on the website of the Virtual Museum as a partner of the entire project. You can of course also add information about why you contributed.

    Reward delivery: In a year

    EUR 782.47
    (CZK 20,000)
  • 3 from 3

    BECOME THE MAIN PROJECT PARTNER

    Become the main partner of the entire project! We will place your company logo or name on the Virtual Museum, on the entire www.gulag.cz website, and in all of the promotional materials!

    Reward delivery: In a year

    EUR 1,956.18
    (CZK 50,000)
  • 3 from 3

    COME ON AN EXPEDITION WITH US!

    Do you want to experience swarms of mosquitoes in the middle of hot taiga, being marooned on a deserted river or the harsh Siberian frost on your own skin? Would you like to assist us in mapping camps and also enjoy a very non-standard holiday? Join us on another expedition! The price includes all transport and accommodation.

    Reward delivery: In a year

    EUR 5,868.54
    (CZK 150,000)