Report given by Yekaterina Andreevna Schmahl

Report given by Yekaterina Andreevna Schmahl

Yekaterina Andreevna was born in the hamlet of Taskino, Karatus District, Krasnoyarsk Territory in 1947; she grew up in a resettled German family with many children.

Her parents, Genrich (Heinrich) Genrichovich Schmahl (born in 1904) and Amalia Augustovna (maiden name Scherer, born in 1908), as thousands of other Germans, were resettled from the Autonomous Republic of the Volga-Germans by force. While they were on the way to Siberia, daughter Anna was born. The parents, experiencing grave difficulties during the trip and the first months of adaptation, when they practically lived on the verge of starvation, managed to keep the little girl alive.

The family got to the hamlet of Taskino, Karatus District, Territory of Krasnoyarsk. Almost immediately upon their arrival the father was mobilized to the labor army, from where he returned in 1945. After the home-coming of the family head another four children were born: Viktor, Yekaterina, Maria and Emma. Amalia Augustovna was even honored by a medal because of her many children.

The parents of our respondent worked for the collective farm during their whole life: the father had to transport fuel by horse, the mother worked for the tobacco plantation.

According to what Yekaterina Andreeevna recalls, other members of the family did not get to Taskino. Some relatives were sent to Novosibirsk, but after Amalia Augustovna had died, family relations with them turned out to be irrevocably lost.

Far away from home, the Germans kept on trying to preserve their language and traditions for the first decades. They used to meet in their dwellings, sang songs, said prayers. The eldest among them baptized the children which had already been born in Siberia. German remained the language in which they would communicate at home. However, as recalls Yekaterina Andreevna, the parents were the only ones that spoke German. She and her brothers and sisters did not want to talk in German, they learned Russian, which quickly superseded the German language within the family.

Yekaterina Andreevna admits that, when she was a child and a young girl, she felt ashamed of her nationality and avoided communication with her parents, although nowadays she well understands that they had a very hard life. Amalia Augustovna and Genrich Genrichovich spent their whole life in Taskino.

Our respondent is leading a modest life and does not know about rehabilitation. She has been working for the telecommunication administration for many years and grew up three children, which meanwhile have their own families.

Yekaterina Andreevnas youngest sister is the only one who is trying to preserve their family history; she is working for the German Society in Chernogorsk on a full-time basis, undertook a trip to the Volga Region and tried to find the former house of her parents.

Yekaterina Andreevna still likes to cook traditional German dishes every now and then, such as stewed fruit soup, krebli and others.

The interview was taken by 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.