, , , , , , , , , ,

Some “policies” of the Stalinist Soviets were exceptionally brutal.  People everywhere in the Colony were encouraged by the State to inform authorities about folks who hid grain, gold or other valuables.  Children were interrogated and encouraged to tell if their parents were still reading the Bible.  Those neighbors who Isaak once trusted became enemies.  Conversations were strictly about the weather or some other trivial topic even during domino games.  One complaint about the State or the harsh living conditions would send a man and his family to Siberia.

1941 railroad car

This railroad car commemorates the mass deportations by the communist regime in 1941.

Collectivization and the beating down of the farmer was complete by 1932 and next Stalin was determined to eliminate all Kulaks and church leaders.  Thus began the frightening time of causeless deportations and arrests.  Gnadenfeld was terrorized by nightly visits by the NKWD (secret police).  The sound of horses at night created fear, and everyone would strain their ears to determine where they had stopped.  The next morning would find the man of one of the village homes gone, the house ransacked with his wife left to fend for her children alone.  Sometimes a man would disappear after going behind a tree to relieve himself in the middle of the workday.  The men were forced through torture to admit to different crimes against the State and then thrown into labor camps.  Eventually, the collective farm work had to be done almost exclusively by women and children.  Without strong, healthy men to do heavy work, some parts of the farming process could not be done and the famine continued!