Juan Carlos Thomas - Line Illuminator - Role 3
" The kitchen was run by two men - a cook and a sanitation inspector. Every morning as he left the camp the cook drew an issue of grits from the main kitchen: about one-and-a-half ounces a head , probably. That made two pounds a squad , a little less than a pood for the whole column. "
( Page 69 , paragraph 6 )
For me , this sentence highlights something significant. Workers in a Gulag camp work up to 14 hours a day ! Someone that does a lot of work or exercise needs plenty of energy. Usually energy is is received from food. But how will one and a half ounces of grits give plenty of energy to the prisoners ? I know it is a bit hard for two men to give a healthy meal to more than 100,000 prisoner , but that's my point. I don't think it is fair for prisoners to work a lot and not be fed well. According to "choosemyplate.gov" a healthy meal includes five groups: grains , dairy , vegetables , fruits and proteins. Does a bowl of grits have all these five groups ? No. I know , prisoners are also fed oatmeal sometimes. But does oatmeal have all these five groups ? No. I am not saying prisoners should be fed a steak with wine , what I'm saying is that if the they want them to work they should be treated better.
"The other day the prisoners unloaded cement near the warehouse in high wind. What's more , they carried it up to ten yards on barrows. As a result the whole area around the warehouse is ankle-deep and the men are smothered in it. Just figure the waste !"
( Page 79 & 80 , paragraph 7 & 1 )
These piece of text from the book supports the idea that prisoner work hard during the day , in heavy weather. In this Soviet labor camps prisoners were asked to do many things. According to this website: http://gulaghistory.org/nps/ , prisoner in this labor camps were very important for the construction of many industries , including railways , roads and mining operations. Millions of prisoners suffered in this camps due to the harsh treatment and punishments. Many of these who suffered were not even criminals. I don't think this labor camps were fair to the prisoners. I don't think it is fair that the prisoners have to work when there's a high wind and their lives are at risk. After doing some research , I found out that the largest camps were held in the most extreme geographical and climatic regions of the country.