Remember Us - Letters from Stalin's Gulag (1930-37) Volume One: The Regehr Family

A father and mother plead to their relatives in Canada: "Remember us. Do not forget us." Their children write: "What will become of us?" Written from their prison barrack behind the barbed wire, their letters travel to a tiny prairie town in Canada. Yet, writing letters to the "West" during Stalin's Reign was a crime. NKVD documents confirm that "contacts abroad" were forbidden. Somehow, a subversive network of mail delivery was found during one of the most horrific eras in human history. Men, women and children were sentenced to Stalin's vast Gulag of over 2000 prison camps. The survival rate was one winter. The plea to "Remember us" describes not only the horror, but also the strength of the human spirit in the bleakest circumstances.

Remarkably, the world knows little of these catastrophic events. But the letters change this. These are first-hand eye-witness accounts written in the moment; not years later after time has eroded the experience. Their immediate readers (relatives in Canada) will remember. Their children will remember. Now we too can remember what happened. We can honor the victims and commemorate the survivors. The letters confirm the day-to-day experiences of those in the prison camps. (Description from book’s web site.)

Derksen Siemens, Ruth
Pandora Press, 2008