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Letter from Emma Greb Haas
Ruth Muth Grenard received this letter from Emma Greb Haas whose father's name was Heinrich Greb from Wiesenmuller. Her mother was Anna Elizabeth Muth, daughter of Heinrich MUm who was the son of "Town Father" Muth of Wiesenmuller.
|Good day, Dear Ruthie.
Greetings from the heart from Emma and Andrei HAAS.
"Heartfelt thanks for your lovely letter. It was only right that I should help you find the Muth family, however, I was a little girl when I moved away from Wiesenmuller. I can vaguely remember something about it.
" My parents moved away the first time to Wodjanka and we built a big house there but it was not all finished yet, and then came the communists in 1929, so that is when they arrested our father, Heinrich GREB, like they arrested all well-to-do farmers, and shipped us to Siberia. One day when we were on the way to Siberia, he escaped in the Don River area and then later he sent for the children and Mother to come back. He knew one man over there that helped us get away. The communists had already taken everything away, so we left with empty hands, and escaped and went to our father and started a new life.
" When I was a child, I was a baby sitter for others' children, strangers to us; people we did not know. We did not go to school, but later we moved to a small town, Neufeld, got work there, and lived in the "Kolektiev" guesthouse. We all had to work for 12 years, farm work, in the beginning, to fourteen years, in a pig farm. When I was 15 years old, I worked in the field and on a cow farm, and when I was 18, I was driving a tractor.
" At the beginning of the war, in 1941, we were again forced to move to South Kazakhstan. On the 16 of August, 1941, they arrested my father, Heinrich GREB, and the the 14th of September, they moved us again. Then the 14th of October they shot my father. The reason they killed him is because he said Hitler was going to win the war. We didn't know what happened to him until 1990. We thought they probably murdered him. We looked for a long time at the end of the '80's. Then is when, in the late '80's, it could be possible to know what they did with him. They wrote us a letter and said he was innocent. Now they wrote us that he was not guilty.
" Back to when we were moving, 14 Sep 1941. It was late at night when the sun was already down, soldiers moved into our town, and we had to be finished packing and ready to go, and the only things we could take is what we could carry. They put us in a railroad boxcar, like animals, with two decks that were built out of boards, so we were laying together like fish (sardines). That is the way they had us until the 2nd of October, and then they unloaded us in middle Asia, by Kasachen, and over there, we had a really terrible, hard life again. I and my youngest brother, Heinrich, found us a ob driving tractors, just to get us a couple of kiIos of wheat. We saved our family. However, other families died from hunger. To write about what we went through, I could write a whole book. Our town was not very big, about 100 families, and the families had from 5 to 7 or more children under 8- 1 0 years old, and from the beginning, they all died except a few survived. so that was our bad luck in Russia. So you can thank God that your elders got out of Russia. We lived from 1941 under "Sonnder Kommentadur" until 1956. From the beginning of the war, we had to go to the "Sonnder Kommentadur" and write our names to make sure we were all still there. And if you were gone three times from your house and the police picked you up, you had to write to have someone judge you, and we were put for up to 25 years in jail
" We got married in 1948, we had three children, and they came into the world in a dugout that we built by the Stad Tschljabinsk (Gebied UhraI), lived with my husband's parents until 1955, and then later we bought a little house, and we lived in that little house until we could go to Germany. We went to Germany in 1992 without our children. In 1994 our son, Victor, came to Germany. He had a lot of problem getting to Germany because he studied as a journalist and his wife is not a German. Victor's wife's mother and brothers are in Germany also. I have two daughters in Russia. They both have two children, and both are married to Russian men. My youngest daughter came to Germany without her husband; her husband didn't want to go to Germany. Her children are 18 and 14 and they wanted to go back to their father. They didn't know the German language. My oldest daughter, her husband is a Russian officer, and they didn't come to Germany. she no longer knows the German language. Since he is an officer in Russia, the whole family speaks Russian, but I wish that my children would start to be Germans again. But I have had nothing but problems with it so far.
" I thank God that my son has a job in a store. His wife is a nurse, and she got her diploma and works in a hospital. I and my husband get "Rermte" (like Social Security) but we don't get enough money to go on vacation. But last Christmas (1994) we were in Russia to be with our children over Christmas.
" There are a lot of questions I just can't answer. I was too young when I left Wiesenmuller, and our life was not easy. My mother died in 1966 in South Kazakhstan. Up to 1956, we couldn't travel anywhere without the "Kommedatur's" permission. ... We had to burn all the pictures when they arrested my father. If they found out we had friends in a foreign country, then they would arrest and sentence us.
"... We are both 73 years old and now our life is more like human, and the few years we have got left, we would like to enjoy it. . ..I have here in Germany two sister and families, and my brother has died already, but they all lived by Frankfurd Mein (Frankfurt on the Main River).