Labor camp

Labor camp

A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are forced to engage in penal labor. Labor camps have many common aspects with slavery and with prisons. Conditions at labor camps vary widely depending on the operators.

Labor camps in various countries

See Forced labor camps in Communist Albania
  • Allied Forces
The Allies of World War II operated a number of work camps after the war. In the Yalta conference it was agreed that German forced labor was to be utilized as reparations. The majority of the camps were in the Soviet Union, but more than 1,000,000 Germans were forced to work in French coal-mines and British agriculture, as well as 500,000 in U.S.-run Military Labor Service Units in occupied Germany itself.[1] See Forced labor of Germans after World War II.
See Forced labor camps in Communist Bulgaria
The Communist Party of China has operated many labor camps for some types of crimes. Many leaders of China were put into labor camps after purges, including Deng Xiaoping and Liu Shaoqi. May Seventh Cadre Schools are an example of Cultural Revolution-era labor camps. As a matter of fact, hundreds - if not thousands - of labor camps and forced-labor prisons (laogai) still exist in modern day China,[2] housing political prisoners and dissidents alongside dangerous criminals.
Beginning in November 1965, people classified as "against the government" were summoned to work camps referred to as "Military Units to Aid Production" (UMAP).[3]
After the communists took over Czechoslovakia in 1948, many forced labor camps were created. The inmates included political prisoners, clergy, kulaks, Boy Scouts leaders and many other groups of people that were considered enemies of the state. Most of the prisoners worked in the uranium mines. These camps lasted until the mid-1950s.
During World War II the Nazis operated several categories of Arbeitslager (Labor Camps) for different categories of inmates. The largest number of them held Jewish civilians forcibly abducted in the occupied countries (see Łapanka) to provide labor in the German war industry, repair bombed railroads and bridges or work on farms. By 1944, 19.9% of all workers were foreigners, either civilians or prisoners of war.[4]
The Nazis employed many slave laborers. They also operated concentration camps, some of which provided free forced labor for industrial and other jobs while others existed purely for the extermination of their inmates. A notable example is the Mittelbau-Dora labor camp complex that serviced the production of the V-2 rocket. See List of German concentration camps for more.
The Nazi camps played a key role in the extermination of six million European Jews.
During the early 20th century, the Empire of Japan used the forced labor of millions of civilians from conquered countries and prisoners of war, especially during the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War, on projects such as the Death Railway. Hundreds of thousands of people died as a direct result of the overwork, malnutrition, preventable disease and violence which were commonplace on these projects.
North Korea is known to operate six camps with prison-labor colonies in remote mountain valleys. The total number of prisoners in the Kwan-li-so is 150,000 – 200,000. Once condemned as political criminal in North Korea, the defendant and his family are incarcerated for lifetime in one of the camps without trial and cut off from all outside contact.[5]
See also: The North Korean prison system
See Creation of the camps, Great Brăila Island
See Gulag
Imperial Russia operated a system of remote Siberian forced labor camps as part of its regular judicial system, called katorga.
The Soviet Union took over the already extensive katorga system and expanded it immensely, eventually organizing the Gulag to run the camps. In 1954, a year after Stalin's death, the new Soviet government of Nikita Khrushchev began to release political prisoners and close down the camps. By the end of the 1950s, virtually all "corrective labor camps" were reorganized, mostly into the system of corrective labor colonies. Officially, the Gulag was terminated by the MVD order 20 of January 25, 1960.[citation needed]
During the period of Stalinism, the Gulag labor camps in the Soviet Union were officially called "Corrective labor camps." The term "labor colony"; more exactly, "Corrective labor colony", (Russian: исправительно-трудовая колония, abbr. ИТК), was also in use, most notably the ones for underaged (16 years or younger) convicts and captured besprizorniki (street children, literally, "children without family care"). After the reformation of the camps into the Gulag, the term "corrective labor colony" essentially encompassed labor camps[citation needed].
The United States Army recently declassified a document that "provides guidance on establishing prison camps on [US] Army installations." [6]
See Reeducation camp
Socialist Yugoslavia ran the Goli otok prison camp for political opponents from 1946 to 1956.

See also


  1. ^ John Dietrich, The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy (2002) ISBN 1-892941-90-2
  2. ^ Labor camps reinforce China's totalitarian rule
  3. ^ "A book sheds light on a dark chapter in Cuban history", El Nuevo Herald, January 19, 2003. (Spanish)
  4. ^ Forced Laborers in the "Third Reich" - By Ulrich Herbert
  5. ^ "The Hidden Gulag – Part Three: Kwan-li-so political panel-labor colonies (page 24 – 41)". The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. Retrieved February 10, 2011. 
  6. ^ See "US Army Civilian Inmate Labor Program"

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • labor camp — n. 1. a camp for confining political prisoners, prisoners of war, dissidents, etc., who are forced to perform physical labor 2. a camp or other housing for migrant farm workers …   English World dictionary

  • labor camp — labor ,camp noun count a prison camp where prisoners are forced to do hard physical work …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • labor camp — Synonyms and related words: POW camp, bastille, black hole, borstal, borstal institution, bridewell, brig, cell, concentration camp, condemned cell, death cell, death house, death row, detention camp, federal prison, forced labor camp, gaol,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • labor camp — 1. Also called slave labor camp. a penal colony where inmates are forced to work. 2. a camp for the shelter of migratory farm workers. [1895 1900] * * * …   Universalium

  • labor camp — noun a penal institution for political prisoners who are used as forced labor • Syn: ↑labour camp • Hypernyms: ↑camp * * * noun, pl ⋯ camps [count] : a place where prisoners are kept and forced to do hard physical labor …   Useful english dictionary

  • labor camp — noun Date: 1900 1. a penal colony where forced labor is performed 2. a camp for migratory laborers …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • labor camp — la′bor camp n. 1) a penal colony where inmates are forced to work 2) a camp for the shelter of migratory farm workers • Etymology: 1895–1900 …   From formal English to slang

  • labor camp — prison or penal colony where the prisoners have to do hard physical work; camp for migratory farm workers …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Masanjia Labor Camp — (马三家劳教所) is in Masanjia Town in Yuhong district in the Liaoning province of China.[1] It also is called the Ideology Education School of Liaoning Province[2] and was opened under China s re education through labor, or laojiao policy. It is… …   Wikipedia

  • München-Schwabing labor camp — The Dachau subcamp at München Schwabing was the first subcamp where concentration camp prisoners were permanently used as a labor force outside the main concentration camp. Unlike most of the later subcamps which were constructed, organized, and… …   Wikipedia

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