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Getman Painting - Prisoners Eating

Getman Painting - Prisoners Eating Civil Rights Famous Historical Events Social Studies Tragedies and Triumphs Visual Arts

Prisoners who served as forced-laborers, in the Soviet GULAG, worked extremely hard but had very little to eat. 

A typical meal, for people like Nikolai Getman - who was serving time in the Kolyma region, not far from the Arctic Circle - was something called balanda (which was a type of gruel made from the tops of vegetables) and a small piece of bread.

Senior prisoners, like the individual who is seated at the table in this illustration, know it’s best to eat very small portions at a time.  A new prisoner (in the upper-left corner) likely ate all his rations at once.  Watching the older prisoner, he is learning how one has to survive in the slave-labor camps.

This image depicts an original oil painting by Nikolai Getman, a GULAG survivor.  The original work is now maintained by the Jamestown Foundation.


Media Credits

Image, described above, online courtesy Jamestown Foundation.

 

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