Originally Posted by ROD CURRIE
And the Mask Of Sorrow in post 4501 I presume.
Yes indeed, tho its really more of a memorial to the people who died in the Kolyma in the whole gulag system.
There were two types of Gulags ... mining gulags and road building gulags. The roads were only build to support the mines. Up in the Kolyma they were mining gold, uranium and tin mainly. The road gulags were secondary - the road building gulags built the roads to get the tin, uranium and gold out. The Mask of Sorrows were for people who died in the whole Dalstroi gulag project in the Kolyma region - road building, mines, the lot.
The little monument in Tomtor is specifically for those who died (or even survived) building the Road of Bones, between Magadan and Khandyga.
There are no known numbers for sure. Many numbers bandied about are bound to have been under or over exaggerated or even guesswork that is not even in the ballpark of other guessworks. So no one can even give a useful estimate. I have heard that 2 million people died in the Kolyma gulags altogether, and 700,000 of those died building roads. That seems kinda high in my view, when you consider the infrastructure up there, the limited port facilities that would have existed in Khandyga and Magadan back in the 1940s, and having seen the size of some of the gulags.
Also a lot of the stories such as the reason the Road of Bones got its name, from the bodies of dead prisoners having been buried into the road bed .... there is no documentary evidence of that, and as far as I know, despite the road being unmaintained and totally eroded in many places, not a single traveller has reported actually seeing bones in any of the eroded sections.
I think a lot of it has become urban legend.