Cover Osteuropa 6/2007

In Osteuropa 6/2007

Music by Decree
Official Cultural Life in Stalin’s Forced Labour Camps

Inna Klause

Deutsche Fassung


In the Soviet understanding of itself, forced labour camps served to reeducate people. Culture was to make a contribution to that end. The secret police and camp administrations maintained cultural-political sections, which tried to regulate in detail cultural activities within the camps. But, between the idea and the reality, there lay a gulf: Music served less as propaganda or education than as entertainment for the camp personnel. Musicians and actors had a better chance of surviving the camp. The dividing line between camp and civilian life blurred. Incarcerated artists worked with one another in concert venues and in theatres outside the camps.

(Osteuropa 6/2007, pp. 301–314)