Some of the cruelest treatment is saved for pregnant women, who are made to have abortions without anesthesia, or witness their babies murdered at birth. One grandmother was tasked with looking after pregnant women at Sinŭiju camp and said newborns were left to die in a box which was simply buried when full.
In his memoir — The Aquariums of Pyongyang — Mr Kang recounts how a guard made a pregnant woman disrobe, exposing her belly, and then he beat her. Another defector illustrated how a pregnant woman had a board placed across her bump, which other prisoners were then forced to seesaw on.Those dreaming of escape face high-voltage electric fences, moats bristling with spikes, armed patrols, guard dogs and minefields, though security varies by camp. Anyone caught escaping is executed by either firing squad, hanging or stoning, typically in front of the other prisoners, and with rocks stuffed in their mouths to stop them screaming.
But the biggest killer in the camps is malnutrition, with no more food available than a handful of corn, grain and cabbage, plus whatever bugs, snakes, rats, grasses and barks can be found. Sketches drawn by gulag survivors detail how people, in their desperation, delay reporting each others’ deaths so that they kept getting their rations, and even steal dog food.
This entry was posted in Humanitarian Aid and Relief, North Korean refugee, Prison Camps by Grant Montgomery.