Norillag prisoners had days off due to bad weather

Norillag prisoners had days off due to bad weather

December 07, 2021

At the beginning of the first military winter in Norilsk, an interesting document was issued: an order on the work of prisoners in the open air in the winter of 1941/42.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. ‘In order to prevent cases of freezing of prisoners’, maximum low temperatures werre determined when it was impossible to take prisoners to work outside and all work in the open air was stopped.

The table contained the following items:

a) 40 degrees below zero in calm weather;

b) with a wind of 22 meters per second – regardless of the air temperature;

c) at –35 degrees and a wind of 5 meters per second;

d) at –25 degrees and a wind of 10 meters per second;

e) at –15 degrees and a wind of 15 meters per second;

f) at –5 degrees and a wind of 5 meters per second.

Prisoners working in closed rooms were freed from work at –55 degrees and below, as well as in winds exceeding 25 meters per second.

The order was quite humane, especially by the standards of the Gulag. First, the prisoners’ working day outdoors was 12 hours. Moreover, they were allowed to have ten minutes break every hour to get warm only if the weather was really bad.

Second, all the days missed due to the bad weather had to be worked out at the expense of rare days off.

In previous issues of the of History Spot photo project, we told about the Flowers shop, which for a long time was a summer oasis in Norilsk in the middle of winter.

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Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive

December 07, 2021

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