Sound archives of Europeans' gulag deportation to go online
A project by Russian and central European historians called "Sound Archives of the Gulag", recordings of the stories of scores of deportees, will be available online in March, organisers said.
The project has gathered some 160 accounts by people of their sorrowful experience of being deported to the gulag, the penal labour camps in the former Soviet Union, the coordinator Marta Craveri told AFP this week.
The accounts are mainly from Poles, Lithuanians, Estonians and other nationalities of eastern Europe.
"A million Europeans were deported to the gulag by the Soviets. It is a past that has for a long time been concealed behind the Iron Curtain and it is still little known" by much of western Europe, said Craveri at a presentation in Warsaw on Tuesday.
She said once the countries of the former Soviet bloc entered the European Union in 2004, "we became aware of the lack of knowledge of this past and thought that it was time to gather witness testimonies to create a virtual museum," she said.
The project was put together by the Center for the study of the Russian, Caucasian and Central European world in partnership with Radio France Internationale.
The deportees' accounts recorded in 11 languages will be available online in four: French, English, Russian and Polish. The recordings were made by people who returned to their homelands from the gulag, and those who stayed in Russia after their liberation.
"The goal of the project has been to go beyond the national aspect of these deportations and see them as a European experience," said historian Alain Blum.
© 2010 AFP