Voices from the Gulag; The Oppression of the German Minority in the Soviet Union,  published by the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln, Nebraska.

This book, based on available sources, tells the story, by means of personal narratives, of the German settlements in Russia; their beginning under Empress Catherine the Great in 1763; their accomplishments, creating productive farming communities on previously unproductive land in the Southern steppes of Russia, and the Southern Ukraine. It covers the revocation of their special privileges in 1871 by Czar Alexander II; exile to Siberia and the confiscation of some of their properties in World War I, and above all the destruction of their communities and forced labor in Siberia and Central Asia under Stalin. It relates the harsh living conditions of the survivors in the Gulag as well as continued exile under subsequent Communist governments and finally, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the return to their ancient German homeland. Their personal stories tell of their suffering as well as their ability to overcome the hardships of the Soviet Union.. Professor Eric J. Schmaltz, in his article, Soviet “Paradise” Revisited: Genocide, Dissent, Memory and Denial, (Heritage Review, Volume 17, No.3, September 2007, page 8) estimates that 893,000 to 1,065,000 German Russians died during the Soviet period as a result, directly or indirectly, of government action.

The story of the Germans in Russia is a tragic one.. The ethnic Germans were subject to the worst elements of the Soviet communist system, foremost among them forced exile to the slave labor camps of the Gulag in Siberia and Central Asia. Saddest of all perhaps, this story describes, in the words of those who lived it, the destruction of a unique German society in Russia. During and after the war, the entire ethnic group was imprisoned in the Gulag. The most bitter experience was that of the 200,000 German- Russians who, having survived the Soviet system by evacuation  to Germany by the German army near the end of the war, were then repatriated to the Soviet Union because of the terms of the Yalta agreement. They were all sent to the Gulag.  Continued…