Lev Shlyakhter: Canteen

Categories: Mode of life, Lev Shlyakhter

And what was the best delicacy at that time? There was a …

You know what the best delicacy was..., I wrote an application. I had an ulcer of stomach. There was a canteen for dietarians. At the plant. Every three months we were given out a pass to this canteen. There was a more dietary food at the canteen, everything. But, our work unit was number 630, and it took me to get to the canteen about 20–25 minutes on foot across the plant, there were 15 thousand of workers! Could you imagine how did it look like? While you were having lunch, you were already late to work. There was a strict discipline, the strictest one. The plant was huge, there were 8 checkpoints there. It depended what district you lived. You come and say that your booth is… checkpoint 8, booth 18. You come and say, tell your surname, not the surname but the number. We didn’t have passes. She asked the surname, looked at you and gave you a pass. You show it to a watchman and he let you come in. There was a code meaning what work unit you may come in. There was a slip in a code meaning when you work – day or night.

Well, it was strict.

When you come in to the work unit you may see a board with narrow cells, each cell is marked with your number. And you do not replace the timesheet as everywhere at plants, but use cells. Timesheet keeper comes – ... You cannot go out of the work unit – a watchperson doesn’t let you go out without a pass. Later you come back after your meal and again use your pass. I used to be late. So I asked the head of the work unit permission: «I hereby request having 15 minutes of labour rent because of having meals at the canteen for dietarians». There was a patrol at the plant. If they catch you... The work unit, the whole plant is a manufacture unit. There is a loophole somewhere, so they brought out the wood wool, and left the door open, or shut the window somewhere. You could run out for a moment. There was a river nearby.



Researcher: Natalja Ivashchanka, Sviatlana Silava, Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno

Popularization of the centres of oral history in the LV-BY cross-border area (LLB-2-143)
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Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno
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