Dmitlag (Dmitrovskii Correctional Labor Camp)

Address: 4 Minina Street, Dmitrov, Moscow region

Dmitrovlag, Dmitlag, DITLag, or DITL was the largest colony of the OGPU-NKVD concentration camps. It was built for the construction work on the Moscow-Volga Canal named after Joseph Stalin (since 1947 - the Moscow Canal) in the north of Moscow and Moscow region in 1932-1938. The number of prisoners involved in building the canal reached 200,000 people.

Dmitrovskii correctional labor camp. Photo: Memorial Society Archive

Dmitrovskii Correctional Labor Camp. Photo: Memorial Society Archive

Dmitlag was located along the canal route that totalled 128 kilometers. The camp management was located in the Borisoglebskii Monastery in Dmitrov. The canal construction lasted 4 years and 8 months, and its grand opening was held on July 15, 1937. In May 1937, mass arrests of prisoners and Dmitlag management personnel began. In 1937-1938, more than 2,000 camp prisoners were executed.

The artist Konstantine Sobolevskii, who had been sentenced to forced labor in camps for 3 years, worked on the construction of the Moscow-Volga Canal. He lived in Dmitrov, worked at the Central Art Studios of Dmitlag, and drew illustrations for the camp’s newspapers and magazines. In June 1937, after an early release in the spring of 1936, he was arrested again and sentenced to death. On September14, 1937, K.S. Sobolevskii was executed and his ashes were buried in Moscow’s Donskoe Cemetery.