Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are engaged in forced labor. Labor camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons. Conditions at labor camps vary widely depending on the operators.
In the Soviet Union, a synonym, Labor colony was also in use; more exactly, "Corrective labor colony", (исправительно-трудовая колония, ИТК).
Notable labor camps
- Imperial Russia operated a system of remote Siberian forced labor camps as part of its regular judicial system, called katorga. Though conditions were difficult, they were mild compared to those of later Soviet camps.
- The Soviet government took over the already extensive katorga system and expanded it immensely, eventually organizing the Gulag to run the camps. These camps were notorious for their extremely rough conditions; new prisoner death rate was as high as 80% at some camps. During and after the Great Purges, the Gulag camps housed millions of prisoners. Stalin used them both as a source of cheap labor, and as indirect extermination camps.
- The Communist Party of China has operated many labor camps for political prisoners. Many leaders of China were put into labor camps after purges, including Deng Xiaoping and Liu Shaoqi.
- Nazis operated many extremely brutal concentration camps, which provided free forced labor for industrial and other jobs during World War II. There were several categories of Arbeitslager in Nazi system, for different categories of inmates.
- A notable example is Mittelbau-Dora labor camp complex that serviced the production of the V-2 rocket. See List of German concentration camps for more.
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