Gulag Report


Camps in the area of Irkutsk

Camp #19

A Ukrainian witness was sent to the Irkutsk Oblast in 1959. During a brief stay in Camp #4, he heard rumors that Americans were being held in Camp #19, about eight kilometers away. He said that he heard that the part of Camp #1 9 which housed the Americans was a particularly high-security zone, surrounded by a seven-meter fence, and several meters of barbed wire.

After having been caught stealing bread, he was sent to Camp #19 in March 1959, and was immediately thrown into the 'BUR' (Barak Usilennogo Rezhima - Reinforced Security Barracks), located near the bathhouse and guard tower. Inside he was thrown on top of the badly bloodied bodies of two men lying on a makeshift table. He said that lying next to the bodies were seven gold teeth, and part of an artificial jaw. Iit was obvious that the men had been beaten and had their teeth knocked out. He said that he could not recall whether the teeth were completely covered with gold, or just the crowns. The guards told him that the bodies were those of American officers and that the same would happen to him if he did not obey the rules. The witness said that it was impossible to discern the color of their skin or even guess at their age, due to the ferocity of the beatings. He said that he was sent off to wash up and that when he returned, the bodies were no longer there. He later heard that the bodies were buried by the fourth guard tower, and the prisoners' clothes were doused with gasoline and burned. The witness added that he had heard rumors that there were another 18 Americans housed in the camp, aside from these two. He said that these prisoners were gradually killed off between May and July 1959. He claimed that approximately once a week, one of these prisoners was taken out, forced to dig his own grave, stripped, and then shot. The camp guards told him that these victims were also US aircrews which had been taken prisoner in Korea. They were buried outside the camp, near the guard tower, separately from the other prisone+ ye He added that this was not in the local cemetery which was also located just outside the camp.

The witness said that he could not recall the camp commandant's name. He recalled the surnames of two camp guards - Popov and Ivanov, but could not remember their names or patronymics.


A former German POW reported direct contact with U.S. Army Captain Johnny Anderson from 1951-1953. Captain Anderson was reportedly stationed in Berlin in 1946, and was arrested while drunk in the Soviet sector. The source believed he may have been in the air corps. [CAPTs John R. Anderson and John A. Anderson are missing from WWII. There are an additional four captains missing with the last name of Anderson.)

Taishet Camp #20, Farm #25

A Japanese returnee reported that in the period of 1949-1950 he had direct contact with an American flyer, about 40 years old, tall, with a ruddy complexion. The flyer was shot down over the Baltic states while on an aerial reconnaissance mission and sentenced to 20 yrs, He was burned in the crash, leaving scars on his right cheek and left leg, necessitating the use of a cane, He spoke some Russian.

Taishet Special Camp #6

A Latvian witness said that he had knowledge of three U.S. POWs in Taishet camps from the period 1949-1951. He met the first American in 1950, in Taishet Special Camp #6, where he worked as barber. This camp held primarily French, Indians, and people from the Baltic. The American was a U.S. military officer taken in 1949 from Austria. During his capture, he had been hit on the head, resulting in a skull fracture. He was Caucasian, about 5'9" tall, had light brown hair, blue eyes, was 30 years old and from New Jersey. He was at the camp until 1951, when he was released to exile in Krasnoyarskiy Kray.

The witness saw a second Caucasian American in Special Camp #6 during the Summer of 1951, but does not know if he was civilian or military. This individual was brought in either blind, or simulated blindness, and was approximately 30 years old. The American escaped, and his fate is unknown. The witness saw a third American in Special Camp #6, who was Caucasian, around 40 years old, and sent to another camp. The new camp and the fate of the American are unknown. The witness also cited rumors at (he time of his ca ' Capitivity to the effect that at least some of the crew from the U.S. aircraft shot down on 8 April, 1950, were taken alive and sent to camps.


A Polish witness claimed that at the end of the summer of 1951 or 1952, an American escaped from Camp #19 at Czuna, on the Taishet - Bratsk railway, 141 km from Taishet.


A resident of Irkutsk claimed his mother had seen an American prisoner in March 1946, while working as a porter on a train carrying NKVD prisoners from the Far East. The porters were ordered to bury eight of the prisoners who were believed dead, but one of the eight was still breathing so she took him in. He died a week later, but before he died he indicated he was an American. The source believed his name was something like, 'Fred Kolin or Kollinz.' The American drew a picture indicating an aircraft being shot down and three people, possibly bailing out of the aircraft. [There 3 Fred Collinses missing from WWII. There are an additional 89 servicemembers with the last name of Collins.]