Lee Harvey Oswald in Russia
An Unauthorized History from the Kennedy Assassination 

Minsk Part 
4 
Oswald at Work II: Gorizont  (Horizon) Plant
In His Own Words

Copyright © Peter Wronski 1991-2004

 

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Lee Harvey Oswald with fellow workers at the factory in Minsk, circa May 1960.

(Above)  Brick wall facing the entrance to Oswald's workshop, Minsk,  May 1992.  This  was one of the few exposed brick surfaces we could find near Oswald's workshop.  The Oswald photo might have been taken against this wall.

(Below)  Entrance to Oswald's workshop, Minsk, May 1992.  The bench appears similar in type to the one peeking out from behind Oswald's shoulder in the 1960 photograph.  The Oswald photo could have also been taken in front of this building before its brick surface was plastered over. 
Photos:  Peter Wronski©1992. 

 

(Above) The workshop where Oswald worked as a "regulator"--a precision machinist from 1960 to 1962.   When this photo was taken in May 1992, the function and layout remained relatively unchanged .  Along with several other "regulators"--Oswald used a machine bench located near the doors.  A similar machine still stands in the same location.                                                                                       
Photo:  Peter Wronski©1992.    

(Above)  Lee Harvey Oswald worked at a lathe similar to this one, if not on the elements of the very same machine (minus the computer control interface.)   His job was to precision machine various small metal parts used in the construction of radios, televisions, and other electronic devices.                            
Photo:  Peter Wronski©1992.

Gateway to the Television Factory, Minsk,  May 1992.            
Photo:  Peter Wronski©1992.

Excerpts from Oswald's essay on Minsk and the factory.   (c. June 1962)
( Source:  CE 92 & CE 94)

Upon his return to the USA in 1962, Oswald hired a secretary to type and correct his handwritten essay about Minsk.  He ran out of money before all the pages could be typed.  These are excerpts from both the typed and handwritten pages, in a version correcting the grammatical and spelling errors that Oswald's dyslexia caused in his writings.    



This factory manufactures 87,000 large and powerful radios and 60,000 television sets in various sizes and ranges, excluding pocket radios, which are not mass-produced anywhere in the USSR.  It is this plant which manufactured several console model combination radio-phonograph-television sets which were shown as mass-produced items of commerce before several hundreds of thousands of Americans at the Soviet Exposition in New York in 1959.  After the Exhibition, these sets were duly shipped back to Minsk and are now stored in a special storage room on the first floor of the Administrative Building--at this factory, ready for the next International Exhibit.  

I worked for 23 months [ a typo.  Oswald worked 28 months ]  at this plant, a fine example of average and even slightly better than average working conditions.  The plant covers an area of 25 acres in a district one block north of the main thoroughfare and only two mile from the center of the City with all facilities for the mass production of radios and televisions.  It employs 5,000 full time and 300 part-time workers, 58% women and girls.

Five hundred people during the day shift are employed on the huge stamp and pressing machines where sheet metal is turned into metal frames and cabinets for television sets and radios.

Another five hundred people are employed in an adjoining building for cutting and finishing of rough wood into fine polished cabinets.  A laborer's process, mostly done by hand, the cutting, trimming and the processes right up to hand-polishing are carried out here at the same plant.  The plant also has stamp-making plant, employing 150 people at or assisting at 80 heavy machine lathes and grinders.  The noise in this shop is almost deafening as metal grinds against metal and steel saws cut through iron ingots at the rate of an inch a minute.  The floor is covered with oil used to drain the heat of metal being worked so one has to watch one's footing; here the workers' hands are as black as the floor and seem to be eternally...

For a good cross-section of the Russian working class, I suggest we examine the lives of some of the 58 workers and 5 foremen working in the experimental shop of the Minsk radio plant...

The shop itself is located in a two-story building with no particular noticeable mark on its red brick face.  By 8:00 A.M. sharp all the workers have arrived and at the sound of a bell sounded by the orderly, who is a worker whose duty it is to see the workers don't slip out for too many smokes, they file upstairs, except for 10 turners and lathe operators whose machines are located on the first floor.  Work here is given out in the form of blueprints and drawings by the foreman Zonof and junior foreman Lavruk to workers whose various reliability and skills call for them, since each worker has with time acquired differing skills and knowledge.


Lee Harvey Oswald in Russia
An Unauthorized History from the Kennedy Assassination 

Minsk Part 
4 
OOswald at Work II:  Gorizont  (Horizon) Radio & TV Plant Minsk
In His Own Words

Copyright © Peter Wronski 1991-2004

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