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Details of 'the horrors endured by 57 British prisoners, eight of them women, in the "Black Hole" at Baku, the Caspian oil centre and the scene of many Bolshevist crimes, were given to .the London Daily Mail by one of the released naval prisoners arriving in H.M.S. Heliotrope. "The cells in which we were placed," he said, "were about 12ft. square, and 12 of us were put in each one. The prison was in a very filthy condition. After we had been shut iii the cells a packet of vermin was thrown in among US.

"They gave us one pound of halfcooked black bread and a little rice per day per man. Very often the bread did not arrive.

"The British Vice-Consul (Mr. Hewelcke) was taken out of his cell and placed in the condemned cell and told that he would be shot. He was even put into the motor-car used for the condemned people. Then his execution was postponed, and finally, through the torture to which he was subjected, he became very ill, and his life was spared. "The condemned cell was next to ours, and we frequently heard people being taken out of it and placed against the wall of our cell and shot. We could see the flashes of the rifles as well as hear the reports. "Typhus, typhoid, and other diseases were rife among the people, and there was a continual stream of dead bodies being carried away in sacks.''

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BAKU "BLACK HOLE" Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume XLI, Issue 0, 12 February 1921

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