Saturday, February 28, 2015

Boris Nemtsov murdered in Moscow

Reports from Moscow are noting that opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has reportedly been shot and killed by four bullets to the chest while out walking. This is the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty report on the murder.

Friday, February 27, 2015

RIP Leonard Nimoy

Most people will remember the late Leonard Nimoy for his iconic role as Spock in the first Star Trek franchise. Indeed, reruns of that show were where I first remember seeing Nimoy's acting. But, I think my favorite Nimoy related show might have been In Search Of one of the very first documentary series on paranormal events. Nimoy was an important cultural figure for those of us who grew up in the 1970s because despite other models of coolness there was no way you could get any cooler than Spock.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Die Wolhyniendeutschen

This is my ethnic heritage on my father's side.

Today is the 71st anniversary of the deportation of the Chechens and Ingush

Today is the 71st anniversary of the deportation of the Chechens and Ingush. To celebrate Red Army Day in 1944, the NKVD systematically deported almost the entire Chechen and Ingush populations from their mountain homeland in the Caucasus to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. There they lived under severe legal restrictions and in dire poverty. As a result of the extremely poor material conditions in their new places of settlement over 145,000 died prematurely before the end of 1952. Only in 1957 did the Soviet government restore the Chechen-Ingush ASSR and sanction the return home of the deportees and their children.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Vote YES! Support BDS call for Academic Boycott at SOAS

Ethnic Germans from Kyrgyzstan sent from the Red Army to the Labor Army

In the fall of 1941 the Stalin regime removed almost all ethnic Germans from the Red Army and sent them to the labor army. The vast majority of these loyal Soviet citizens came from the Volga since the Soviet government had stopped conscripting ethnic Germans from other regions in 1939 (German and Shul'ga, fn. 4 p. 31). Despite this fact there were still ethnic Germans from other regions of the USSR in the Red Army in 1941. Among these men were a number of ethnic Germans from Kyrgyzstan.This post will deal with five of them.  Egor Yakovlevich Mohr was serving in a cavalry unit at the start of the war. He was demobilized from the Red Army in September 1941 and then mobilized into the labor army in Sverdlovsk Oblast. Aleksandr Ivanovich Hizbrecht served in the Red Army in Ust'-Kamenogorod in Kazakhstan in 1941 and 1942 as a senior sargent. In 1942 he was demobilized from the Soviet military and then mobilized into the labor army and sent to work in Bakallag in Chelyabinsk Oblast. Walther Fernandovich Hertel had been mobilized into the Red Army from the old German settlements in Leninpol' Raion, Talas Oblast. He was then sent to the labor army in Chelyabinsk. He was arrested while in the labor army and sentenced to seven years imprisonment on 2 September  1943 under articles 58-10 and 58-11 of the RSFSR Criminal Code. Vasilii Andreevich Alles served in the Red Army from 1938 to 1941. In May 1941 he was removed and sent to Sverdlovsk Oblast as a special settler. In 1942 he worked as a miner in a quarry. Mikhail Aleksandrovich Frick was serving in the Red Army in Novosibirsk Oblast in 1941 when he was demobilized from active military service and conscripted into the labor army. In 1942 the NKVD transferred him to Omsk Oblast (Shtraus and Pankrats, pp. 160-161). The systematic removal of loyal ethnic Germans from the ranks of the Red Army and their mobilization for forced labor in Bakallag and other camps applied to those both in the front and the rear. The Germans in Kyrgyzstan like their brethren in the Volga were not immune from this racially motivated repression.


A. German and I. Shul'ga, "'Ne byvat' fashistskoi svin'e v nashem sovetskom ogorode.' Sovetskie nemtsy na fronte i v tylu vraga,"  Rodina, no. 5, 2010, pp. 28-31.

A. Shtraus and S. Pankrats, Svidetel'stva prestuplenii (Bishkek: Ilim, 1997).

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

“Loss, Retention, and Reacquisition of Social Capital by Special Settlers in the USSR, 1941-1961”

I have placed another piece of mine that was published in 2008 on my page. The print version appeared as J. Otto Pohl, “Loss, Retention, and Reacquisition of Social Capital by Special Settlers in the USSR, 1941-1961” in Cynthia Buckley, Blair Ruble, and Erin Trouth Hofmann, eds., Migration, Homeland and Belonging in Eurasia (Washington DC: Woodrow Wilson Center and Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 2008). An electronic version can now be found here. Feel to leave any comments you have about the work here.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Provisional Time Table for University of Ghana Seminar Presentations

History Department Seminars
Spring 2015
Wednesday Mornings, Departmental Library 9:30 am

J. Otto Pohl
The Persecution of Ethnic Germans in the USSR During World War II

Graduate Students

Long Essay Students
Larry Yarak
Kingship in Elmina
Kwame Adum-Kyeremeh
Ohene Djan and the Development of Sport in Ghana - A Historical Analysis
Doris S. Essah
Hairdressing in the Gold Coast Colony during the long Nineteenth Century
Joseph K. Adjaye  and Hist 607 Class
Reforming History Teaching in Ghanaian Schools
Graduate Students
Graduate Students
Graduate Students
Philip Kumahor
Sanitation in Accra
Victoria Smith
"Stranger in the Home": Literature in the History of Radio Ghana.

Monday, February 02, 2015

“Ethnic Erasure: The Role of Border Changes in Soviet Ethnic Cleansing and Return Migration”

I have now put up an electronic version  of "Ethnic Erasure: The Role of Border Changes in Soviet Ethnic Cleansing and Return Migration." The print version appeared in Eero Medijainen and Olaf Mertelsmann, eds., Border Changes in 20th Century Europe, vol. 1 Tartu Studies in Contemporary History (Hamburg, Germany: Lit-Verlag, 2010). The chapter deals with the elimination of the national-territorial units of the deported peoples and their restoration for the North Caucasians and Kalmyks versus the unsuccessful struggles by the Crimean Tatars and Volga Germans to restore their Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics.