Getman Painting - Distributing Food Rations

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GULAG prisoners never had enough food to eat.  Camp officials made sure that forced laborers were always hungry.  It was the way things were run.

If a person’s daily rations fell short of the normal allotment, however, it could mean the difference between life and death. 

Distribution of rations involved a specific method to keep peace between the prisoners.  Sitting with his back to the day’s rations, a prisoner would be unable to see the portion size.  He would randomly call-out the name of an individual who would get his food-for-the-day from another prisoner holding the food in his hand. 

In this illustration, by Nikolai Getman, the prisoner in the foreground - with his back to the rest of the men - is calling out the names of food-takers.  Meanwhile, he is busily ridding his bedding of lice and other common pests.

Getman created the painting depicted in this image - “Convict’s Bread Ration” - which measures 46.2 x 53.8 inches.  His original work is now maintained by the Jamestown Foundation. 

Media Credits

Image, described above, online courtesy Jamestown Foundation.


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"Getman Painting - Distributing Food Rations" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Nov 21, 2019.
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