11 January 2022

Repression Years and Deportation Locations

If you are beginning researching your family in the repression years, there are two new sources that complement each other nicely. One will give you a solid historical background, and the other provides lists of names, birth dates, originating colonies in South Russia and exile locations in Siberia and Central Asia.

The first is the new book, The Years of Great Silence: The Deportation, Special Settlement, and Mobilization into the Labor Army of Ethnic Germans in the USSR, 1941–1955, by J. Otto Pohl, a well-known independent scholar and published author of Russian-German academic research. In this volume, he provides a concise history of ethnic Germans from Russia from the beginning and the events leading up to his focus on the peak years of Soviet repression of ethnic Germans—1941-1955. The book will be published on March 22nd, but it is available for pre-order now from Columbia University Press. $42 USD. Shipping costs vary.

The second source is the MVD File Extractions Concerning Individuals/Families Who Were Relocated During the Repression Years” collection that is a part of the Glückstal Colonies Research Association 2021 (GCRA) Data Drive. This focuses on those who were exiled from the Odessa region (the enclaves of Glückstal/Hoffnungstal, Beresan, Liebental) in the 1940s, during the very peak that Pohl writes about in his book. There is no interpretation of this data at all. It is translated into English but is essentially raw and leaves it to the researcher to find family names and locations within the data. Set aside the fact that name of the research group publishing this includes Glückstal in its name; the fact is that much of what is on this data drive has to do with the neighbors in Kherson province with the exception of the Kutschurgan enclave, which is, for some reason, simply missing. The drive is available now from GCRA. $80 USD for non-members, $55 USD for members. Free shipping in the US. Contact the organization for international orders. 

I pre-ordered the book and purchased the data drive last November. Of particular interest to me on the drive is the list of resettlement locations, including coordinates—over 800 of them. It will take time to extract the pieces of data I need to add to my maps, but in the end it will add to the deportation story layer on the map. Currently what’s on the map (and still in progress) is from the book Fortjagen muss man sie.” Zeitzeugen und Forscher berichten über die Tragödie der Russlanddeutschen (“You have to chase them away.” Contemporary Witnesses and Researchers Report on the Tragedy of the Russian Germans). You can get a copy of the book (in both Russian and German) as a free PDF from RusDeutsch