Journal article

Suicide in the Soviet Gulag Camps

Karolina Krysinska, David Lester

ARCHIVES OF SUICIDE RESEARCH | ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD | Published : 2008

Abstract

About 18 million Soviet citizens passed through the Gulag system of labor and concentration camps between 1929 and 1953. Based upon literary evidence from camp survivors and published documents, the authors present reports of attempted suicide and completed suicide, along with a discussion of whether suicide in Gulag camps was a frequent or rare behavior. Similar to reports from the Nazi concentration camps during WWII the existence of Muselmänner or dokhodyagi, the dying prisoners emaciated by hunger, sometimes considered as suicides, has been identified among the Gulag inmates. Also, the incidence and methods of self-mutilation among the camp inmates are discussed.