BEAUTY IN HELL: CULTURE IN THE GULAG
Name: Ol’ga Adamova-Sliozberg
Born: 1902, Samara
Sentence: Eight years imprisonment in the SLON.
Reason for Arrest: Following the arrest of her husband in 1936 for suspected counter-revolutionary activity, Adamova-Sliozberg and her family were under increased supervision from the state. Once someone you were closely associated with was arrested, you were perceived as dangerous, which led the families of the imprisoned to be ostracised from society. Due to her husband’s arrest Adamova-Sliozberg was labelled an ‘enemy of the state’ and was arrested and sentenced shortly after him.
Activity within the Camp: Within the camp Adamova-Sliozberg decided she wanted to record her Gulag experiences. As she was branded a counter-revolutionary her experience of the Solovki would have been almost impossible, as this class of prisoner often bore the brunt of the guards' cruelty. As she was not permitted a pen or paper, Adamova-Slizoberg committed her days to memory each night in the women’s barrack.
After the Solovki: In 1939, Adamova-Sliozberg was transferred to Kolyma, a camp in Russia’s north-east. Freed in 1946 following the Second World War she returned to Moscow, where she was arrested again in 1949 and exiled to Kazakhstan. Adamova-Sliozberg eventually returned to Russia in 1955 where she wrote her memoir; one of the first to become widely available in underground circulation. It provides one of the most detailed accounts of women’s lives in the Soviet camp system.
Image: Ol'ga Adamova-Sliozberg. © Solovki State Historical, Architectural and Natural Museum-Reserve.