Marianna Yarovskaya – Director, Mitchell Block – Executive Producer, Paul R. Gregory – Producer
The documentary film Women of the Gulag tells the compelling and tragic stories of six women as last survivors of the Gulag. Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago largely tells of the men caught in Stalin’s camps and special settlements for “crimes against the state.” Women of the Gulag, features six women in their eighties and nineties as they tell their stories while going about their daily lives in remote Urals villages, in break-away Sukhumi, or in Moscow suburbs. Their only hesitancy to speak out relates to sexual violence, about which they would only hint. Sadly, three died shortly after their interviews.
Our “last witness’s” stories range from the horrific to the uplifting: Fiokla tells of being named head of family at age eleven by her condemned father. Conservatory student, Vera, is arrested for playing “German hymns.” Elena totes uranium ore in a crude backpack, Ksenia lives in a pit covered by branches, Natalia tends the empty grave of her martyred parents, and Adile spends a week in a cell for condemned prisoners. For most, the telling of their stories was cathartic. Adile, in her 90s, put it this way: “I lived so long to be able to finally tell the truth.”