Maria Emanuilovna Savranskikh (Kiss) was born in Kuragino in 1951. She is the sister of Andrei Emanuilovich Kiss.
Her parents, Emanuil Christianovich Kiss (born in 1914) and Yelisaveta (Elisabeth) Andrevna Fertich (born in 1916), lived in the hamlet of Bauer, ASSR of the Volga Germans. In 1941 they were deported to Kuragino District. Apart from Maria there was her brother Emmanuil (born in 1938). Three children died, while they were still residents of the ASSR of the Volga Germans. Later (when they already lived in internal exile) Andrei, Lidia, Maria, Viktor, Olga and Anna were born.
Her correct surname is Giss, but since her father only spoke poor Russian, his name was entered ДKissУ on the registration card; as a consequence his identification card was later issued with the wrong name, as well.
In the beginning they were resettled in Bragino. The local residents showed a fair attitude towards them Ц they were lucky. Germans who happened to get to other hamlets reported that they were very badly received. Nonetheless, every now and then, young boys beat them up or insulted them, calling them Fascists.
In 1942 grandmother and father were called up in the labor army. The father returned home in 1947.
Father and mother worked for the collective farm, later they changed to a state farm. At some time the father was an invalid and received a small pension; the mother also received a small pension amount. They had a hard life, they maintained a small household.
Nobody in their family left for Germany, because they always considered the Saratov Region as their home. The father had the opinion: ДYou never replant an old tree!У.
Maria Emmanuilovna speaks German, she and her sisters talk to each other in this language. At home the parents used to speak German, as well. Her husband is Russian; it had never been of any importance to his parents which nationality someone belonged to. Their wedding ceremony was attended by either German and Russian guests. All sisters are married to Russians; the oldest brother, however, got married to a German woman.
The parents were of Lutheran belief. They owned a German bible, said prayers, and it would happen that they also met with other Germans for this purpose. They went from one house to the other, said prayers, and read from the bible. There were many Germans coming all the way from Yuzhniy. They had a pastor, who preached a sermon and would sit down at the table with them. They were able to sing well, and the Russians liked their songs a lot.
They buried their dead in the German tradition, with the tombstone at the head; according to Russian customs the tombstone stands at the food end. The parents did not make up their mind to return to the Volga: they always said that nobody would be waiting for them there. And who should they ask to give them back their house!?
Place of interview: the house of the Savranskikh family in Kuragino
The interview was taken by: Yevgenia Aleksandrovna Franz
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.