Transit prison #25
Transit Prison #25 was set up in Lviv in the autumn of 1944 by the Soviet occupying administration, which took a lead instead of Nazis.
This Transit Prison was one of the biggest prisons of the kind in the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. It was located behind the railway mound, on the left side of Poltvyana Street (now it’s called Chornovola Avenue). The Lviv Ghetto was located in this part of city during the years of Nazi occupation.
On the territory of Lviv Transit Prison there were 21 cantonments, technical premises for administration, and a hospital. The prison was fenced with brick and wooden enclosure 3 meters high. On all the sides there were sentry boxes, the territory was guarded by escort with dogs.
The very existence of the prison was caused by the needs of the time – SMERSHU and NKVD in particular. The main purpose of Lviv Transit Prison was to concentrate in one place and to transport prisoners under guard in correctional-labor camps of GULAG.
Sentenced convicts form other prisons of Western Ukraine were conveyed to “Lviv transit”, where they stayed for some period of time ranging from a week to a year, waiting for their transportation. There exists not proven by archive documentation information about war prisoners of Nazi Germany, Russian Liberation Army, deserters of the Red Army who stayed in the prison, as well as repatriated by force “citizens of the USSR” from Western Ukraine.
In the end of 1945 the prison was lapsed under control of Department of correctional-labor colonies (DCLC), administrated by the NKVD USSR, and starting from March 1946 – it was under control of Lviv regional Ministry of State Security.
Unfavorable conditions of prisoners’ routine, insanitary and poor diet in particular, were contributing to a high mortality rate, especially among newborns and elderly people. Up to 60 prisoners at a time could stay in one cantonment, which on average had only 25-60 square meters. Not having a proper lavatory, people had to use close-stools instead, which usually were located in cells and corridors. Sick and exhausted after torturing in investigation ward people, especially elderly people and pregnant women, usually were to stay in Transit prison for a longer period. There were cases of prisoners committing suicide and being killed by escort while trying to run away.
From 1944 to 1949 Lviv Transit Prison was operating the most. From 1947 in Transit Prison there were the following manufacturing units: cardboard department, auto mechanical department, sewing department, art, boot and clock workshops, and a team making articles of mass consumption. Ministry of Internal Affairs regional hospital (shell corporation №17) was opened in 1947 in the territory of the prison. According to the documents found in Ministry of Internal Affairs archive, in 1947 55 stockades from the prison were sent to GULAG camps. The number of transported people ranged from 60 to 1200 people in one stockade.
A number of riots arose because of the inhumane conditions. In particular, on the 22nd of May 1949 an uprising of political prisoners took place.
1950-1955 is a period of gradual decline of the prison. According to the set standards in Lviv Transit Prison could stay 2100 people the most at the same time. During this period there were 30 guard soldiers, 80 jail wardens, 43 free-lanced workers and 56 officers.
On the 4th of June, 1955, Lviv Transit Prison #25 was liquidated, and a regional hospital for war veterans was set up in its territory.
Since 1995 its territory is occupied by business and entertainment facilities.
Since 2010 Lviv City Council is implementing an idea of creating on this location the “Territory of Terror” Museum.
As for today due to the confidentiality of documents of Ministry of Internal Affairs Lviv regional archive, detailed information about the number of people deceased in Lviv transit prison #25 is impossible to receive.