Dneprovsky Camp

The expedition to the camp, the ore mine, and the Dneprovsky mineral-processing plant in Magadan Oblast.

During this expedition in August 2014, the expedition of the GULAG History Museum filmed the camp, the ore mine, and the Dneprovsky mineral-processing plant.

The Dneprovsky Ore Mine where tin ore was mined was organized in summer 1941 and operated until 1955 with one break. The main workforce in the Dneprovsky Camp was prisoners prosecuted in accordance with the Penal Code of the RSFSR and other republics of the Soviet Union. They also included people who were illegally repressed in accordance with so-called political, articles and who were rehabilitated or are being rehabilitated at the present moment.

All the years of the Dneprovsky Camp’s existence, prisoners mainly used picks, shovels, crow-bars, and wheelbarrows. However, some of the hardest manufacturing processes were mechanized by the American equipment of Danver Company imported to the USSR during the Great Patriotic War according to the Lend-Lease agreement. Later this equipment was disassembled and transported to other manufacturing facilities, therefore it didn’t stay at Dneprovsky Camp.

When the mine used to operate, it was divided into fishing and camp zones where the prisoners worked and lived. The zones were located higher than the settlements of civilians and engineers. Nowadays, there are ruins of manufacturing and residential buildings. In particular, in the settlement, they are houses in the traditional Russian style (“izba”), and in the work and camp zone, they are a part of grinding plant with big ore dumps, camp watch-towers, barbed wire, and lanterns.

On the very top of the work zone, at the altitude of more than 100 meters, there are several ditches left after ore mining. They represent this kind of hard work. There one can also see the camp watch-towers indicating the formerly existing security system on the whole territory of the Dneprovsky Ore Mine which was encircled by the mountain peaks fenced with rows of barbed wire. In this sense, the Dneprovsky Ore Mine is one of the best-preserved industrial objects of the Kolyma camps, the Kolyma version of the GULAG, and a monument to the times of the Stalinist tyranny.