Scientists publish more records detailing the lives of Czechoslovaks imprisoned in the USSR
The investigation files come from the Government Archives of the Transcarpathian Oblast (DAZO) in Uzhhorod and refer to a thousand of the approximately eight thousand Czechoslovaks imprisoned in total in gulag camps during WWII.
Eighty years ago, the Soviet Union declared an
amnesty for Czechoslovaks imprisoned on Soviet territory. To mark this
anniversary, the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes along with the
Faculty of Applied Sciences at the University of West Bohemia published investigation
files of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs on Czechoslovaks detained
in gulags in WWII.
investigation files come from the Government Archives of the Transcarpathian
Oblast (DAZO) in Uzhhorod and refer to a thousand of the approximately eight
thousand Czechoslovaks imprisoned in total in gulag camps during WWII.
files contain, for example, arrest records, fingerprints, photographs,
interrogation transcripts, charges made against individuals, release records,
death certificates and decisions on rehabilitation. The files also include
personal photographs and documents that were confiscated from the arrested individuals
by the NKVD," lists historian Adam Hradilek from the Institute for the
Study of Totalitarian Regimes. "The published documents represent
approximately one-fifth of the files on Czechoslovak refugees in the USSR, which
we have been digitizing and processing in collaboration with the Government
Archives of the Transcarpathian Oblast in Uzhhorod," added Hradilek.
from the Department of Cybernetics and the NTIS Research Center at the Faculty
of Applied Sciences have been cooperating on the NKVD and KGB digital archives
since March 2020. Their software first converts the scanned documents using OCR
(Optical Character Recognition) into textual format and subsequently stores
them in a specially designed database, which enables interactive searching for
keywords or short phrases in Czech or Russian using a graphic user interface.
The amnesty was declared on 3 January 1942 in
connection with the formation of the Czechoslovak Armored Brigade in the USSR.
Joining the Czechoslovak military unit being formed in Buzuluk, Russia, was a
condition for the prisoners' release. Around five thousand Czechoslovaks had
been released by the end of 1944. However, some of the released inmates died
during transit from the camp or upon arrival at the Czechoslovak military unit,
which they reached sick and exhausted. Most of the survivors joined the
fighting on the Eastern front, where many of them died at Sokolov, during the
battle of the Dukla Pass, or in other bloody battles. The acquired documents
are a contribution toward paying them respect and honoring their memory.
Faculty of Applied Sciences
04. 01. 2022