Soviet labor camp found where monument of Stalin once stood in Prague
A woman walks past a bust of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in an exhibit dedicated to the Battle of Stalingrad
(photo credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV)
It's been almost 60 years since the 51-foot statue of Stalin was brought down.
Archaeologists unearthed an ominous history hidden underneath the monument of Joseph Stalin that stood in Prague during the Cold War.What they found were the remains of one of the Soviet Union's infamous forced labor camps. In this case, the remains were of a house used to shelter workers. According to a Guardian report, the forced labor camp had been previously unknown to Czech historians, as all mentions and footprints of the encampment were wiped before the statue was erected.It has been almost 60 years since the 51-foot statue of Stalin was brought down. Other sites such as another labor camp and a uranium mine had been found previously in nearby Bohemia.The Czech Academy of Sciences had been ordered to excavate the area to construct a man-made lake on behalf of the Prague city council, according to the Guardian. One of the archaeologists of the Czech Academy of Sciences' Institute of Archaeology Jan Hasil found the building plans for the labor camp and used aerial photos, in preparation for construction of the new lake.“It’s typical of camps built by the communist or Nazi regimes that if a demolition was carried out, it was done thoroughly,” said Hasil, according to the Guardian. “They wanted to leave no evidence, just as every common criminal will hide their own traces.”Hasil is calling for a memorial to be erected instead of the man-made lake, to honor those forced into the labor camp.“You can compare it to a prisoner of war camp in Nazi time and, so far as I know, the conditions would have been more or less the same as those of the western countries’ prisoners the Nazis held,” said Hasil, according to the report. He added that this was “typical of the time of the great crises of the 20th century in central Europe."“People in this camp were living in bad conditions,” Hasil said to the Guardian.