Report given by Frieda Genrichovna Rehlova (Weber)

Report given by Frieda Genrichovna Rehlova (Weber)

Frieda Genrichovna Rehlowa (Weber), born 1951.

Mother – Maria Kondratevna Weber (Neu), born 1925, father – Yegor (Genrich) Petrovich Weber, born 1928.

Before their deportation Frieda Genrichovna‘s parents lived in the village of Kukk (Saratov Region). They lived in prosperity; they owned a house and a cow. The mother passed 8 grades at the German school with distinction. In October 1941 the family was deported to Siberia. The first stop station was at the train station of Som (Khakassia); from there they continued their trip to Bogradsk District.

The mother’s family, which got to Khakassia, consisted of the parents, one brother and the family of the uncle, who had already started his own family (wife and three children). They were keen to keep the members of their families united.

They had been forced to leave behind all their possessions, the farmyard, when they left their home at the Volga. They just took along what they were able to carry on their arms; among these things were two prayer books, which the mother had once received from her father. Maria Kondratevna is still practicing the Lutheran faith. But when she was a young mother, she did not teach her children any religious traditions. After she went on pension, she turned back to her Lutheran belief and began to instruct the children, as well, who were baptized according to the Russian Orthodox belief.

During the first time they found accommodation in a dug-out which they had built by themselves. Immediately after the war the grandfather erected a little wooden house. They began to create a vegetable garden, whereby they first planted potatoes – not without the assistance of some locals: each of them gave them a couple of potatoes or potatoe peelings to plant. Frieda Genrichovna‘s mother said about these very first years of their life in Siberia: „Hazel dormice and Turk’s cap lilies which saved our lives“.

The mother was mobilized to the labor army somewhere in Bashkiria, where they intended to build new towns. After the war had ended, she, as well as other trudarmists, was restored to freedom. Having returned to Khakassia she married. Seven children were born to the family: Philipp (1949), Elvira, Frieda (1951), Viktor (1953), Nina, Yegor, Nadia.

The father had not been in the labor army. The mother deliberately specified a later year of birth with the authorities, so that they would not assign him to hard labor. He was handicapped: at the age of four he had jumped from the roof – the kneepan slipped. They turned to the hospital, but his limping walk did not trail away till the end of his life. The father earned their living by repairing shoes and boots; he also used to sew and mend horse harnesses and tacks.

Frieda Genrichovna‘s grandfather (the father’s father) was in the labor army near Reshoty train station. After the war he was released in an outspent and emaciated sate. He said that “he would not make it”, that he would “die pretty soon”. He did not return home.

The parents had been able to understand and speak Russian already before the resettlement. They did not teach their children German, but even tried to limit this kind of knowledge: the spoke German only in situations, when they did not want their children to understand what they were talking about. They were strictly using the Russian language.

After the birth of her brother Philipp the mother did not go to walk. The commandant arrived and put her in the detention room for three days, as she had not appeared at work. Her mother-in-law brought along the infant in order for the mother to feed him. After her release she was forced to go to work.

The people pointed a finger on her. But there were many Germans in the village. Before the resettlement of the Germans Letts had already been living in the neighborhood. One of the Letts besteaded the family: he made a butter tub for the mother.

They had to go and get registered with the commandant’s office. They were not allowed to stay more than three kilometers away from the hamlet; once a week someone arrived to control, if nobody had left without official permission.

The mother collected sulfur, which she then delivered.

The father taught his children how to work: he showed them how to mow with a big scythe. Frieda Genrichovna recalls that, in the beginning, she was not able to cope with this task. “There were mounds all over the place, nothing but mounds“. Her father said: „You have to press your heel on the ground“!

Later, the relations among the people improved; the re-settlers were no longer insulted, as it had been the case before.


Expedition of the V.P. Astafev State Pedagogic University Krasnoyarsk and the Krasnoyarsk „Memorial“-Organization on the project „Anthropologic turn in social-humanitarian sciences: Methodology of field research and practical experience in the realization of narrative interviews“. (Sponsored by the Mikhail-Prokhorov Foundation).