Murmansk Railway

Group. (Myself with Two Other, Murman)

In this photo Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii is shown on the right with his dog and two unnamed guards from the Murmansk Railway. If I’m being completely honest the reason this photo caught my attention is that the two guards are giving thumbs up, people in older photos tend to be so stoic that this was refreshing to see. The other reasons I found it interesting was that Sergei was in this photo, and that this railway was being constructed during the entirety of World War I.

The photo was taken in 1915, construction on the Murmansk Railway started in 1914 and ended in the spring of 1917. Guards were a necessity not only because the railway was being built in the midst of World War I, but because German and Austrian prisoners of war were used as forced laborers to to try and make up for the labor shortage caused by the war. The railway didn’t really have an affect on the outcome of World War I, it was completed too late to make a difference. But it was useful for the Russians in World War II, the city of Murmansk is a port in the north of Russia and the railway was used to move American goods that arrived from the Lend-Lease Act.

Austrian Prisoners of War near a Barrack, near Kiappeselga

Pictured above are some German and Austrian prisoners of war who worked on the Murmansk Railway in front of their barracks

Sources:

https://www.wdl.org/en/item/5150/#q=Prokudin-Gorskii&page=3

https://www.wdl.org/en/item/5111/#series=views-along-the-murmansk-railway-russian-empire&page=2

https://www.wdl.org/en/item/5114/

2 thoughts on “Murmansk Railway

  1. I agree that the thumbs up shown by the guards was really refreshing to see and made me laugh. In your post you talk about the History of the railroad and how it was crucial to the lend lease act in World War II. I thought that was really interesting. One thing I would love to learn more about is what life was like for the Austrian and German prisoners of war

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  2. I also think that the image gives a refreshing feel, considering the struggle of World War I, with the center guard crossing his legs, giving a thumbs up, and even smirking. In the same manner the second image does not give the feel of atrocity or suffering when symbolizing the prisoners. The prisoners seem relaxed and comfortable. Good finds to change how some people may think of the times around the first World War.

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