• JPEG - 64 kb Le manuel du Goulag Spravochnik po Goulagu (Russian version), Overseas Publications Interchange Ltd, London, Russian version, 1987, preface by Alain Besançon ; followed by an English version The Gulag Handbook , Paragon Publishers, NY, 1989, preface by Robert Conquest ; second print in Russian, Prosvet, Moscow 1991; Japanese version, Keigado Publishers, Tokyo, 1996; Czech version, Dystrov, 1999.
  • Le Manuel du Goulag (with the collaboration of Sophie Benech and Véronique Patte). le cherche midi éditeur, Paris, preface by Nicolas Werth, 1997.
  • JPEG - 48.1 kb Jacques le Français Fragments de Vies (with the collaboration of Sophie Benech), Elikia, 1995; new edition (with 23 additional stories) entitled Qu’elle était belle cette utopie! , le cherche midi éditeur, 2000 and Pocket, 2002 ; Italian version Com’era bella questa utopia ! , Marsilio, 2003.
  • Jacques le Français - Pour mémoire du goulag with the collaboration of Michèle Sarde, le cherche midi, 2002 ; Japanese version Keigado, Tokyo, 2004.

Le Manuel du Goulag

JPEG - 50.2 kb Le Manuel du GoulagA historical dictionary of Soviet prisoner camps and terms related to forced labor camps.

Le Manuel du Goulag - The Gulag Handbook is organized in dictionary form, with entries arranged alphabetically, according to the original Russian-language terms.

You will find :

  • specific articles such as the definitions of acronyms e.g. GTOU,ZOUR,TOUTCHK,SFT,ATP, etc), historical annotations on laws, decrees, etc;
  • studies on specific and given topics such as prisons, camps (13 kinds), Solovki Islands, teenagers and minors, children, mass arrests, mass deportations, mass executions, etc.
  • specific terms on the labor camp ‘culture’, whether they may be official (eg ‘release certificate’; ‘an honorable attitude towards labor’; norm; compound; self-defense; regime; food ration; wooden tag; remnants of the past; ‘socially close’; and so on) or entries that have become colloquial (such as ‘toufta’; ‘small posterior’; ‘flyers’; ‘crow’, and so on).

You will find some bewitching anecdotes and often humorous sayings woven throughout these articles. The recollection of the first-hand descriptions turn this encyclopedia into a book - that at first may be difficult to read- to a lively and most moving journey into the Soviet labor world. This living witness describes and analyses the tragedies with a rigorous and sharp mind.

Excerpts from the preface to the French version , Le Manuel du Goulag -The Gulag Handbook - by Nicolas Werth

In the already significant literature that exists on the Gulag, Jacques Rossi’s unique work stands apart from the others.

(...) After twenty five years of camp and exile, Jacques Rossi preferred to dedicate the rest of his life to filling out thousands of card files « full of memories » which make up a true encyclopedia of the Soviet labor camp phenomenon, and turn it into a ‘An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Soviet Penitentiary Institutions and Terms Related to the Forced Labor Camps ‘, as mentioned in the sub-title of the original version.

(...) And yet Le Manuel du Goulag is more than a dictionary of the language used in the labor camps. It is a veritable historic encylopedia of a unique erudition that encompasses all aspects of the Gulag civilization : culture, sociology, history, geography, economy, and law. One of Jacques Rossi’s major thesis throughout his book is that this Gulag civilization is at the heart of the whole Soviet experience, and not exclusively to the Stalin era.

After he left the Gulag, Jacques Rossi with the patience of a Benedictine monk completed his card files ‘filled with memories’ by undertaking an extensive research on all aspects of the Soviet labor camps. He was thus able to verify his own experience, and the numerous interviews he had collected with the legal decrees and enactments and internal instructions ruling the fate of the various categories of inmates. He was able to put into a historic perspective Stalin’s Gulag such as he experienced it while seeking the roots of the labor camp phenomenon in the first years of the Bolshevik regime. In doing so, he showed the continuity of the repressive politics from Lenin to Stalin, and studied the labor camp system under the Russian Czars, such as he experienced it, while completing his investigations until the 70’s and 80’s. Put back into a context faithful to the changes and continuities, each article is like a concise and thorough synthesis on a given subject (capital punishment, camp, amnesty, death toll, etc) which goes far beyond the factual data suggested by the modest title Le Manuel du Goulag.”

Nicolas Werth