Report given by Ivan Augustovich Schefer (Schäfer)

Report given by Ivan Augustovich Schefer (Schäfer)

Resident of the hamlet of Sagaiskoe, Karatus District.

Ivan Augustovich Schefer was born in 1940. He was deported with his two sisters (Irma Augustovna, born 1927) and Anna Augustovna, born 1935), his brother (August Augustovich, born 1937) and his parents to Siberia in the autumn of 1941. Vater August Genrichovich Schefer was born in1905, his mother Yekaterina Michailovna Schefer in 1910. In 1945 his brother Alexander Augustovich saw the light of day in Sagaiskoe.

The fathers sister, Anna-Margarita Henrikhovna Schefer (born 1905), and her five children were deported to Siberia together with the Schefer family. They had lived in the hamlet of Straub, Kukkus District, Saratov Region, before. On the Volga they had owned a house and a big farm with cows, calves, poultry and geese. They were given twenty-fours to get ready for the trip to Siberia and bundle up things that would be most necessarily needed. Ivan Augustovich passes what his parents recalled, how the abandoned cows roared, the dogs howled. The people were loaded on freight-cars and transported away. All the years in Siberia mother and sister were always thinking back to their life at the Volga, always being very concerned about what might have happened to their house and the farmstead.

At first the family was taken to the train station in Abakan; they continued the trip by horse for another three days, until they finally reached Karatus. From there the commandant sent them to the hamlet of Sagaiskoe. During the first time they lived in dug-outs, but when the winter approached, the family was quartered in the building of the village Soviet together with the Krylovs. Every ten days they were compelled to go to Karatus on feet, in order to get registered with the commandants office, and once a month the commandant would come to the village himself. The mother was a very good seamstress she was able to sew dresses, as well as under-jackets. During the day she worked for the granary, in the evening she would sew clothes for other villagers to receive some food or useful objects.

Ivan Augustovich went to school from the 8th year of his life. There were 43 pupils in his class, most of them were Russians. During the first time the resettled Germann children were treated badly they were beaten during the breaks, were called Fascists and Hitlers. Brothers and sisters also attended school. The eldest sister even managed to go to school and concurrently work as a milkmaid. However, none of the children of the Schefers had the chance to graduate school they were all forced to work. Over the years the unkind behavior towards the Germans changed. The more people used to work together, the quicker they got used to each other, made friends with Russians, who occasionally even stood up for the German children, when these had been offended or insulted. The father was mobilized to the labor army, where he stayed for four or five years and got seriously ill (heart and lungs); he was taken to Sagaiskoe, where he lived until 1951 and then died. From his 8th year of life Ivan Augustovich had to work on the kolkhoz farm by horse. He left school after having finished the 6th grade and got a job with the blacksmiths shop; he stayed there for two years. In Minusinsk he succeeded to make an apprenticeship as a driver. When he served in the army he was stationed in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. After military service he began to work for the Sagaisk kolkhoz farm as a d river and leader of a rather complex tillage brigade.

Ivan Augustovich recalls that the German women living in Sagaiskoe would often gather to sing songs and jointly knit short cardigans and little scarves. The mother also regularly attended these meetings. During the first years the exclusively spoke German at home, but later, little by little, went over to Russian.

In 1958 Ivan Augustovich got married to the German girl Anna Staintz, who had also been deported from the Volga Region. Three children were born to them two sons and a daughter. In their family Ivan Augustovich and Anna spoke Russian, and their children do not know a single word of German. When the Germans began to leave for Germany at a progressive rate, the Schefers also got prepared to immigrate to Germany, for the elder sister lived their already at that time. But the sister-in-law, the wife of the eldest brother flatly refused a departure, and so, in the end, they all stayed in Siberia.

The interview was recorded by Marina Konstantinova and Yelena Sberovskaya.


August Genrikhovich and Yekaterina Mikhailovna

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).


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