Book Title: Prisoner of the OGPU: Four Years in a Soviet Labor Camp
Publisher: Themisto Press
Release Date: 2017-08-22
Author: George Kitchin
“Why should we hope? Our lives are wholly blasted, And all of us are damned by destiny?”
George Kitchin provides a first-hand account of his four year imprisonment in a Soviet gulag, from 1928-32.
At the time of his incarceration, Kitchin, a Finnish citizen, was working in Russia as a representative for an American firm.
He was arrested by the Soviet secret police (known as the OGPU at the time), charged with violating an obscure regulation, held in prison, and then sent to a labor camp located in northern Russia where he describes the brutalities he endured and witnessed.
He had the good fortune after a time to be assigned clerical work in the office of the penal camp administration. This undoubtedly saved his life and it also gave him a unique opportunity to observe the inner workings of the OGPU organization.
As a citizen of Finland, his case was a matter of concern to the Finnish government, whose efforts finally obtained for him permission to leave Soviet Russia.
His physical condition after four horrible years was dire. A year and a half were spent in convalescing, and another year in preparing his notes and writing this memoir of his experiences. Prisoner of the OGBU
is one of the only first-hand authentic accounts of the penal camps of the Far North, and it is still relevant today in understanding and studying that brutal period of history.
‘This for the market of Escape from the Soviets, and others of the sort, an account of the piled-up horrors of a prison camp of the Soviet Secret Police. Kitchin was a representative of Finnish interests, and got caught on a technicality and sent for four horrible years to the far north. First hand data of Soviet methods and inefficiencies, of the regime and a revealing picture of behind the scenes, of incredible brutalities. Well done and thrillingly absorbing reading.’ – Kirkus Reviews