Study Guide

Gulag: A History - Part 2, Chapter 16: The Dying—Summary Summary & Analysis

Anne Applebaum
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Part 2, Chapter 16: The Dying—Summary

Dying prisoners, or dokhodyagi, ranked at the very bottom of the camp hierarchy. They suffered from malnutrition, starvation, and diseases like scurvy and pellagra. Those who were starving experienced dizziness, swelling, and stomach problems, deteriorating both physically and mentally. Prisoners wrote of how the dying would reach such levels of starvation that they didn't care for themselves anymore.

Prisoners also died while laboring. The mines and factors often had unsafe conditions and workers who were weakened by hunger and fatigue only exacerbated this. Many prisoners also died from diseases like tuberculosis, dysentery, pneumonia, and typhus. Applebaum writes that while the subject of suicide is strangely taboo, some prisoners did take their own lives. They saw suicide as a way of reasserting control over their lives.

Camp authorities and doctors kept many aspects of the dying a...

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This section contains 357 words
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Buy the Gulag: A History Study Guide
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