Zwischen sozialistischer Erziehung und wirtschaftlichem Nutzen. Gefangenenarbeit in der Tschechoslowakei und in der SBZ/DDR nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg

Klará Pinerová


There is no doubt that the prison system in Czechoslovakia and the GDR changed along the lines of the Soviet model. This article addresses a particular aspect of the prison system by comparing the attitude towards prison labour in both states and leads to the conclusion that Sovietization in each country developed in different ways. The reasons for this can be found not only in the developments of the interwar period, but also in the geopolitical situation and the variously manifesting intentions held by the respective communist estab-lishments in adopting the Soviet model. These differences also arose due to the fact that the Soviet model had not been uniformly defined and was constantly being modified. At many levels, Czechoslovakia and the GDR had to balance their own demands with the vision of the Soviet hegemonic power and find a way to adapt prison policy to the political, economic and societal circumstances in their respective countries. The essential questions that this article seeks to find answers to are: What was more important for prison authorities ― the productivity of the prisoners and the fulfilment of the Five Year Plan or the educational purpose and potential of imprisonment? Which methods were used to increase the productivity of prison labour and what conclusions, if any, can we draw from these methods regarding the differences between the two countries?