Memory, Gender and the Gulag

Jehanne Gheith, Duke University

Based on interviews with survivors of the Gulag, my paper explores how memory was passed along during and after the Gulag; specifically, how women remember the Gulag. Processes of memory are always culturally based and the specifics of Russian culture in these years 1930s-1950s greatly affected how people remembered and what they remembered. The fact that silence was necessary for many years, of course, also affects processes of memory. Against this background, I explore how women discuss their time in the Gulag and after, including the effect of daily tasks like sewing as well as how a diaper became an effective tool of communication from prison to the world outside.