Q: What happened to the poupulation with german heritage when war started in Russia?
A: I did not find out about this until 1948, when I attended a meeting with other Volga-Germans. The population had to give up their homes, gather on Volga-Ships and were deported to Siberia by boat and train. My mother and my sisters were brought to Krasnojarsk. The men and sons were seperated from their wives and mothers and brought to work camps. After the war, I did not hear anything from my family for twenty years. I searched for them with all the help I could get, but the first sign I got from my mother was in 1961.
Q: What did the deported people live on?
A: They were simply assigned to the houses of the siberian population. Until 1955, they were outlaws and, at first, they sold their meager belongings and had to beg for their daily bread. Later, every family got one cow as a compensation. From this moment on, they could at least care for themselves a little bit. My oldest sister however literally starved to death during this time.
Q: How come you were chosen to be a german soldier?
A: During our imprisonment, we guys with german heritage, were sorted out. We were asked to either be a worker in Germany or a soldier in the german army. I chose the army, got german papers and from this point on, I belonged to the 10. Tank Vivision, Artillery Regiment 90 in the Signal Corps.
At first, we were in Jasma, close to Moskaw and were later transfered back to Smolensk. Even later, we were transfered to the South of France. At the end of 1942, we were tranfered to Rommel’s army in North Africa, via Palermo.