Dr. Ruth Derksen Siemens has put together an impressive web site based upon letters written by the Regher family during the early 1930s. The OGPU (Soviet political police) exiled the Reghers from their home in Ukraine to a special settlement village in the northern Urals in 1931. Despite their punitive internal exile they continued to correspond with family members in Carlyle, Saskatchewan. Incredible as it sounds, hundreds of such letters from Russian-German Mennonites banished to special settlements made it to relatives in Canada during the 1930s. You can visit the web site here. I urge all my readers to go check out her web site. She also has both a book and a film documentary coming out early next year based upon these letters. Kyrgyzstan at one time had a fairly large Mennonite population including Maria Regher who settled here with her surviving children after being freed from the special settlement in the Urals in 1956. She died here in 1976. If not for the work of Dr. Siemens she and her family would have been completely forgotten like millions of other victims of Stalinist repression.
hat tip: Michael Miller