Uranium Mines

Czechoslovakia was an important uranium producer in the Warsaw Pact and the Czech Republic today remains one of the only Uranium producing countries in Europe.  The mines, during communism, were staffed by well-paid workers as well as poorly paid political prisoners.

Duty at a uranium mine was one of the unfortunate assignments that a political prisoner could receive – bad food, poor pay, regular deaths from mining, an untold number of deaths from exposure to the increased level of radiation and inhalation of radioactive dust.  This archive has an extensive collection of PDF information files collected by Radio Free Europe about life in uranium mines behind the Iron Curtain.  The existence of Soviet geologists at the Czechoslovak mines seem particularly relevant to the interviewers.

Interesting papers I found were about well-paid Soviet scientists at the mines, general conditions of the mines, a search for Uranium in the Tatras, a description of a uranium mine prisoner camp from a Greek national who was imprisoned there (imagine what a terrible and unexpectedly long vacation to Czechoslovakia it must have been for him), how civilians who fraternized with prisoners were punished, bad food made everyone sick, general conditions of the camp.  The documents in the file are in English, French, German, and Czech, among other languages.

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