July 01, 2008
By David Darlington
As we noted in January, George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media has been working on an online Gulag history project in conjunction with scholars in Russia. That site, Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives, went live in June.
Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives looks at the lives of people who went through the system of Soviet labor camps in the years 1917-1988. It presents gulag history “through a browseable archive of video, art, artifacts, photographs, and the life stories of former Gulag prisoners” (About the project). Visitors will want to check out the exhibits section, which has one Russian-language and two English-language exhibits, immersing the viewer in gulag history via text, photographs and drawings, and QuickTime video clips. In the “Days and Lives” exhibit, the viewer learns gulag history via the story of one of the prisoners. For example, Gustav Herling, was a Polish anti-communist dissident who spent five years of his life performing forced labor. There’s also the unique exhibit, “Gulag: Soviet Forced Labor Camps and the Struggle for Freedom”, a partnership with National Park Service, The Gulag Museum at Perm-36, the International Memorial Society, and Amnesty International USA, which features both online and a traveling components. Here, gulag survivors can tell their stories.
The archive of documents and photographs, is helpfully tagged for easier finding. Visitors will also want to see the gulag bibliography, teacher resources, and the gulag podcast, “Episodes in Gulag History.”