Ivan Ivanovich Bekker, born in 1955.
Father: Ivan Bekker, German, born in Krasnoarmaisk in1929 and resident of Krasnoarmaisk was deported from the ASSR of the Volga-Germans.
Mother: German, maiden name Wagner, born in 1925, hailing from the village of Podsosnovo, Altai region; her parents arrived there in 1909 in the course of the Stolypin agrarian reforms.
The father’s family was deported from Kuragino district; he worked for a dairy farm in a sovkhoz in Baidovo. The mother’s family (six people) was deported to Bugurtak. The mother informed that they seized her, while she was working in the field; she was commanded to get into a car, and then they drove away with her. She was not even allowed to get washed before leaving. The dogs from the village were howling, the cattle bellowing. All people were deported. And later, when it became known that the Germans had been deported, other people settled in this place; they were re-settlers, as well, and they soon occupied the abandoned, completely furnished houses. The deportees were transported in freight-cars. In the new places they were at first treated with distrust, as the local residents thought that they were having horns and looked like savages; later, however, relations improved. They had a hard life, collecting frozen potatoes from the fields, trying to turn to their wits in order to somehow survive the war. The mother had supposedly been deported for a special training in a vocational school in Artemovsk. But there she was forced to float wood: all the time she was standing in the water up to the waist, so that she finally escaped from her place of work.
One of the grandfathers lost his life in the labor army, the other one died shortly after his return. The mother had been mobilized to the labor army, as well.
Father and mother got married in the early 1940s. The mother was baptized evangelic as was Ivan Ivanovich. They had a bible at home, but they did not go to church. The grandmothers used to meet with other women for common prayer.
Today only he and two sisters are still alive. One of the sisters lives here, the other one left for Germany (the brother also left for Germany, where he later died). There was an aunt, who moved to Germany, as well. He is no more able to speak and understand German. It was rarely spoken within the family.
He is married to a Russian woman; his brothers and sisters got married to Russian partners, as well. They all got well assimilated. The sister who lives in Germany, however, is married to a German.
Mother and grandmother used to cook German dishes. Even today the housewife prepares kreppel, German pancakes, every now and then. They celebrated their wedding as normal, not according to German customs and traditions. The respondent thinks that the summer kitchens in Russia originate from the Germans.
None of the family members ever undertook a trip back to the Volga, but people from other settlements did; they reported that their parental home still exists. There had been many Germans who worked for the dairy sovkhoz. During the summertime they used to work as tractor drivers, in the winter they built houses.
The respondent confirms that there were certain lists staring with letter „×“ (“Ch”; translator’s note), in which all Germans were noted. These lists existed until 1991.
The elder brother was desperate to study for the bar – but it did not work, although he was working for the militia.
Relations with the local residents were good, even though, at school, it
would happen every now and then that the boys cursed and insulted them for being
“fascists“. He became a member of the Communist Youth League and the Communist
Party without any problems.
Urban settlement of Kuragino, 13.07.2017
Interview: Yelena Sberovskaya
Expedition of the State Pedagogic V.P. Astafev University Krasnoyarsk on the project "Ethnic groups in Siberia: Conditions for preserving cultural memory", 2017. Districts of Karatus and Kuragino.