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Gulag Letters$
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Arsenii Formakov and Emily D. Johnson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300209310

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300209310.001.0001

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(p.87) 1945
Gulag Letters

Arsenii Formakov

, Emily D. Johnson
Yale University Press

Throughout 1945, Formakov wrote to his family regularly through the official, censored Gulag mail system and illicitly. Letters sent in this year detail Formakov’s efforts to smuggle mail out of the camp, his two-week stay at a “house of rest” that gave favored inmates a chance to rebuild their strength, and his transfer from a relatively privileged indoor work assignment to a general work detail outdoors. During this period, Formakov’s wife sent him regular parcels of newspapers, which he bartered for money and food. Formakov also writes about his efforts to celebrate personal and religious holidays in camp and about the holiday programs staged by the Cultural-Educational Sector of Kraslag. Formakov comments on war news periodically in the correspondence. A special letter sent on May 9, 1945, records Formakov’s reaction to the Nazi capitulation.

Keywords:   Gulag mail system, censored mail, smuggle, house of rest, barter, religious holidays, Cultural-Educational Sector, May 9, 1945, war news, Nazi capitulation

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