August Augustovich Winter was born in Solikamsk in 1949, where his mother (Emilia Genrikhovna – her father’s name got russified in Siberia to Andreevna) and his father (August) had been mobilized to the labor army. Before the Great Patriotic War the Winter family lived in the Republic of the Volga Germans. His father was called up to the front at the very beginning of the war, however, demobilized him soon after and sent him to Solikamsk; according to what son August recalls, his father had to work there in mine shafts. Their children – the sisters Kristina and Irma as well as the eldest brother were sent to the Karatis District, hamlet of Sagaiskoe, together with the grandmother (the father’s mother) and the aunt (the father’s sister). The relatives from the father’s side were deported to Uyar, the family members from the mother’s side – to Alma-Ata. After the war they succeeded to track each other, except for one of the mother’s sisters.
Upon their arrival in Sagaiskoe grandmother, aunt and children were housed in a little hut in the village. Grandmother and aunt had managed to take along to Siberia a real rarity at that time – a mechanical separator, a centrifuge. Due to its existence the family had a chance to owe a little money during the first years of exile – the villagers brought along milk for further processing. August Augustovich knows that, every now and then, his mother managed to send parcels from Solikamsk to her children in Sagaiskoe; according to what his sisters reported, half of the contents of these parcels were missing upon arrival, because locals took out things they liked before they were delivered.
Father, mother and one year-old August arrived with the family in Sagaikoe in 1950. The father found a job as a tractor driver, the mother, like many other countrywomen, worked for a tobacco plantation. The father did not live to see the 60th year of his life, the mother died at the age of 84.
The children of the Winter family had the opportunity to go to school. Afterwards August Augustovich went to Minusinsk to get an education, then he served in the army; later he returned to Sagaisk, where he worked at first as driver for the kolkhoz farm and then as a mechanic.
August Augustovichs sisters got married to Volga Germans, who they had been friends with since their early childhood; they had been neighbors. August married a Russian woman. His mother-in-law taught his woman how to prepare German meals - strudel, krebli, fruit soup. Religious holidays were yet observed during his childhood, for his mother and grandmother were very religious people. According to August Augustovich‘s memory his sister, however, did not speak prayers anymore. When many Germans began to leave for Germany, the Winters refused to join them, for they were of the opinion that they were already too old in order to start a new live from scratch.
The interview was taken by Marina Konstantinova and Yelena Sberovskaya.
05.07.2016, hamlet of Sagaiskoe
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).