Soviet Jew Describes Cruelties of Soviet Forced Labor Camp

The cruelties of a Soviet forced labor camp as described by a man who endured them for two years were reported today by Jewish sources in the Soviet Union. According to the sources, Lazar Trakhtenberg, a 27-year-old Jew from Kishinev, spent time in solitary confinement for offering his lower bunk to a sick Jewish fellow prisoner at the camp.

Trakhtenberg and Arkady Voloshin, 28, also of Kishinev, were released from the camp after completing their sentences. Both were arrested Aug. 15, 1975. Trakhtenberg was punished with solitary confinement because he argued with a camp foreman who insisted that he give the lower bunk to one of the former Nazis incarcerated in the camp instead of to 51-year-old Lev Kornblit.

According to Trakhtenberg, Kornblit, who survived Nazi concentration camps during World War II, was ill and couldn’t sleep when he offered the bunk. In solitary, he said he was fed only on alternate days. He had no chair or table and his cot was removed from the cell at six a.m. and returned only at night so that he had to stand all day or sit on the wet cement floor. He was given no blanket despite the cold weather and the guards took away his jacket. Trakhtenberg said the air in his cell was foul and that he was given no exercise throughout his solitary confinement, the sources reported.

NEXT STORY