Lend-Lease Comes to a Soviet Camp

Lend-Lease Comes to a Soviet Camp

The fresh tractor trail in the mud looked like the footsteps of some prehistoric beast; it seemed to have little relation to the Lend-Lease delivery of American technical equipment.

Even we concentration camp inmates had heard about these overseas gifts, so confusing to the mind of the camp authorities. Shabby knitted suits, secondhand pullovers and jumpers, collected overseas for the inmates of Kolyma were snatched up by the wives of the Magadan generals,’ during what would develop almost into a scuffle. These woolen treasures were marked “secondhand” in the inventories, this, of course, seeming far more expressive an adjective than “shabby” or “b/u”—having “been used”—terms only familiar to concentration camp ears. The expression “secondhand” was mysteriously indefinite, as if something had been held in one’s hand or kept home in a closet.


Socialist thought provides us with an imaginative and moral horizon.

For insights and analysis from the longest-running democratic socialist magazine in the United States, sign up for our newsletter: