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Alan Barenberg's Report "From the Margins to the Home Front: Vorkuta at War"

Presentation was held in the framework of the scholarly seminar of the International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences

During the Second World War, Vorkuta was transformed from a remote site of internal colonization into an integral part of the Soviet home front. Expanding rapidly to meet Leningrad’s desperate demand for coal, the camp complex experienced both rapid rates of growth and soaring prisoner mortality. At the same time, a nominally separate city of Vorkuta was created for the first time, with its own population, institutions, and public spaces. What was the relationship between the camp complex’s wartime expansion and urban development? Answering this question reveals insights not only about the role of forced labor in the USSR during the Second World War, but also regarding the relationship between the Gulag and Soviet society more broadly.
 
Alan Barenberg is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Texas Tech University. His book, Gulag Town, Company Town: Forced Labor and Its Legacy in Vorkuta (Yale University Press, 2014) was the 2015 recipient of the Canadian Association of Slavists' Taylor and Francis Book Prize in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies and was awarded an Honorable Mention for the Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize from Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies.