Saturday, October 17, 2009

Entry from a Memory Book

Since The Guardian ran an article on Thursday about the Russian government's persecution of Suprun and Dudarev the story seems to have gone viral. Almost all the new links are based on the article in The Guardian so I am not going to link to them. Instead I am going to provide some examples of exactly what got Suprun in trouble with the Russian government. He was compiling a memory book of the ethnic German victims of the Gulag labor camps and special settlements in Arkhangelsk. Memory books have been published in Russia before. They are nothing more than collections of basic biographical data of Stalin's victims. Sometimes they merely reproduce the information contained in the personal files of the victims. The entry below on Filipp Martinovich Ganzen (Genzen) was first published in a memory book dealing with ethnic Germans in Viatlag, Martirologa "Nemtsy v Viatlage", compiled by V. I. Verem’ev. It was later reproduced in V.I. Berdinskikh, Spetsposelentsy: Politicheskaia ssylka narodov sovetskoi Rossii (Moscow: Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 2005), doc. 1, pp. 412-413. The translation below is my own and I have attempted to stay as close as possible to the literal rendering of Soviet jargon and euphemisms as possible. For instance alimentary dystrophy is a fancy way of saying starvation. The swelling form of alimentary dystrophy is the familiar image people my age have of children starving to death in Ethiopia during the 1980s as a result of that country's communist government emulating Stalin's agricultural policies.

Ganzen (Genzen)

Filipp Martinovich

Born in 1904 in the village of Mariental/Sovetskoe Mariental canton/Sovetskogo district Volga German ASSR/Saratov oblast (Rossiia), German, citizen of the USSR, from working (artisan-peasant/?/) class, education – four grades (1912-1916), non-party, fireman (chief of fire fighters), married, 3 children (two daughters and a son), lived in place of birth, exiled in September 1941 as “a person of German nationality”, place of exile – village of Uralka (?) Ordynsk village soviet Tiukhtetsk district Krasnoiarsk krai (Rossiia), labor army man, mobilized 23. 01. 1942 by Tiukhtetsk district military command, arrived in Viatlag 16. 02. 1942 from Krasnoiarsk, employed in fire fighting and general work (9th lumber preparation detachment), sentenced 28.01.1944 by permanent session of the legal board for criminal affairs of the Kirov oblast court in Viatlag under article 59 point 6 UK [criminal code] of the RSFSR [Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic] (failure to carry out labor duties) to 6 years deprivation of freedom and three years deprivation of rights, sentence started - 28.01.1944, was to finish sentence on 28.01.1950, on the determination of the legal board for criminal affairs of the Supreme court of the RSFSR of 23.03.1944 the sentence was annulled, the case was declared closed, he was freed from punishment on 24.04.1944, transferred to category of “labor mobilized”(in “work columns”), declared an invalid on 10.01.1944 (swelling form of alimentary dystrophy), died 01.07.1944 from alimentary dystrophy of the 3rd degree (swelling form) with diarrhea, 1st camp point, settlement Rudnichnyi, grave No. G-50, archive personal file – No 1180-m/77452.

(Card of special registration of Viatskogo ULIU. Archive)


V.A. Berdinskikh, Spetsposelentsy: Politicheskaia ssylka narodov sovetskoi Rossii (Moscow: Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 2005), doc. 1 pp. 412-413.

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