Cover Osteuropa 11-12/2014

In Osteuropa 11-12/2014

Cry against Forgetting
J. Margolin’s Comparison of the Gulag and Nazi Camps

Felix Schnell

Deutsche Fassung


In 1946, Julius Margolin wrote his Puteshestvie v stranu zeka (Journey to the land of the camps). The book belongs to the early autobiographical accounts of the Gulag. In 1950, he addressed the comparability of Nazism and Stalinism and compared the form and purpose of the camps. Margolin took the first steps towards a theory of totalitarianism. As a method of obtaining knowledge, comparison remains indispensable. The camps in the Soviet Union were a functional and integral element of the political and economic system; the Nazi camps, especially the extermination camps, followed their own rationality; economically and politically, they were, strictly speaking, dysfunctional for Nazi rule. The Gulag and the Nazi camps represent the grotesque side of inhumanity, which claimed millions of victims.

(Osteuropa 11-12/2014, pp. 91–102)