Abyss of Exile: A Story of Survival
Book review by Geraldine Walth Sommer, Mesa, Arizona
Bender, Ida. Dark Abyss of Exile: A Story of Survival. North Dakota State University Libraries, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Fargo, North Dakota, 2000.
The Dark Abyss of Exile: A Story of Survival by Ida Bender
is along overdue account of one family's holocaust by the hands
of the Russians that lasted for 50 years. Starting in 1941, they
were stripped of their land, homes, furnishings and sent by cattle
cars to Siberia to work in forced labor camps. They lived in sub-human
conditions with little or no food, heat or furnishings and insufficient
clothing for working outdoors doing manual labor.
Everyone should read this horrific account of their lives. For
many years they were not allowed to move freely around and when
they were finally allowed to move it was with the stipulation they
could never go back to their original homes. The authorities claimed
that was because they had been resettled by other people and they
could not now displace them. Upon further investigation, this was
proved to be false and that many of their original homes were standing
empty. During that period they had to give up their German language,
religion, schools and festivals.
After many years, Ida and Rudy moved. Finally after the death
of her husband Rudy, Ida and her son, Rudy, and his family were
able to obtain visitors visas to Germany. Packing as if they were
only going for a visit, they once again left their belongings behind
and once in Germany have never returned.
This book should bring all of us to thank our Lord that our ancestors
had the foresight and perservence to immigrate to a new land.
to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested
by contacting Michael