The Gulag Online virtual museum is the result of our team’s long-term documentation activities. Its aim is to present the basic form and dimensions of Soviet repression through a virtual reconstruction of a Gulag camp, specific life stories, selected objects, documents and texts.
We conduct expeditions to the locations of former Gulag labour camps during which we will document the camps’ current form. To date we have conducted three expeditions to Siberia. In August 2009, March 2011 and September 2013 we mapped the remnants of Gulag camps along the so-called Dead Road. Our last expedition in August 2016 led to the Kodar Mountains in Transbaikal region, where we documented the camps serving for uranium mining. We are, however, also planning other expeditions to places linked to the Gulag in former Soviet countries.
We would like to bring the Russian project Last Address to the Czech Republic. In autumn 2015 we invited the spiritual father of the project, Sergei Parkhomenko, to Prague (see related post) and discussed the possibility of a Czech version of the project with him. The project is now in the processing and preparation stage.
The aim of the project is to create in cooperation with Russian partners a unified information platform that would connect, by means of a shared thematic search engine, current diverse contemporary databases focused on political repression in the former Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries. This would simultaneously give rise to the most comprehensive and complete website possible, offering lay people and experts alike user-friendly access to information on that system of repression and its institutions, as well as its victims, locations, related archival documents and objects.
The aim of the international project Central European Map of the Gulag, which was carried out during 2016, is to recall the tragic fates of citizens of Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary who fell victim to the Gulag and the Soviet regime of repression. The result of the project is an interactive map of the Gulag including places of Soviet repression in the USSR and Central European countries including the testimonies of survivors and a database of labour camps. We also documented abandoned labour camps in Siberia. We were developing the interactive map with the Russian organisation Memorial and researchers from the other countries taking part.
In 2013–2014 the international project Central European Memory of the Gulag, supported by the Visegrad Fund, enabled closer cooperation on the theme of the Gulag within the framework of Central European states. Thanks to the Virtual Tour of the Gulag, which arose in part thanks to support from the project, it has been possible to share the legacies and know-how of projects mapping the fates of citizens of Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary who passed through the Gulag. Several meetings and international seminars on this subject were held. The project’s partners were the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (CR), the Nation’s Memory Institute (Slovakia), the Institute of National Remembrance (Poland) and the NémetKor association (Hungary).
We were involved in the creation of the international exhibition Different Wars, which compares the interpretation of various moments in WWII in elementary school history books in six countries: the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland and Lithuania. Its aim is to highlight the different perspectives and views on history that reflect the specificity of individual countries – geographical, political and period, as well as societal.