Germans Siberia

Exiled to Siberia




way expel (2) see/saw/seen
threat remote get/got/got-gotten
ready case (3) descendant
depart get ready give/gave/given (2)
whole law (2) take/took/taken
place throw out throw/threw/thrown
log (3) for what spend/spent/spent (2)
settle resettle young/younger/youngest
die off what for go/went/gone
rest (2) right (5) say/said/said
ethnic region (2) take their case to court
deport court (3) effectively
wait decade win/won/won
able request social housing
list separate easy/easier/easiest






No Way Back for Russia’s Ethnic Germans

During World War Two, ethnic Germans in the U.S.S.R. were seen as a threat.

So they were deported to remote parts of Russia.

Some of their descendants are still there.


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This village, in the Kirov Region, is 1,780 kilometers northeast of Moscow.

Alisa Meissner, Ethnic German in Siberia: “They gave my mom and her family three days to get ready. In three days, they got their things together and departed.”

Reporter: “Did they know where they were going?”

Alisa Meissner, Ethnic German in Siberia: “No, they didn’t. They took what they could and threw out the rest.”

Seventy-year-old Alisa Meissner has spent her whole life here.

Alisa Meissner, Ethnic German in Siberia: “In 1943, they deported my mother and her sister to the Kirov Region to work in the logging industry. My mom’s younger sister died in 1944.

These are my parents.”

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Most of Russia’s ethnic Germans have resettled in Germany.

Reporter: “Don’t you want to go to Germany?”
Alisa Meissner, Ethnic German in Siberia: “What for? No, I want to go to Moscow.”

The law says people like Meissner have the right to return to the places their families were expelled from.

So Meissner and two other descendants took their cases to court.

Alisa Meissner, Ethnic German in Siberia: “The judge asked me, ‘Why do you want to go to Moscow? Can’t you go to the city of Kirov?’ Why should I request an apartment in Kirov? My mom was deported from Moscow.”

She won her case.

But there’s a decades long wait for social housing in Moscow. So she’s effectively still unable to move there.

Alisa Meissner, Ethnic German in Siberia: “It’s easier to return to Leningrad, because they have a (separate) waiting list for people who have been rehabilitated. There’s no such waiting list in Moscow.

I think they’re just waiting for us all to die off.”

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Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusiana. In the Second World War, the Soviet Union fought against Britain and the United States. True or false?

Austrians, Germans, Swiss Germans. During the war, did German Russians emigrate to Canada?

Amish, Mennonites, Old Believers. After the fall of the Soviet Union, all ethnic Germans remain in Siberia. Is this right or wrong?

Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians. Could they take all their belongings with them? Did they have ample time to depart?

Czechs, Hungarians, Poles, Slovaks. Was life easier for the ethnic Germans in Siberia? What did Alisa Meisser’s family do there?

Romanians, Moldovans. Has Alisa Meisser moved to Germany? Does she dream of resettling in Berlin?

Bulgarians, Serbians, Macedonians. What did she do? Is she optimistic or pessimistic?
Armenians, Georgians, Azerbaijanis. There are different ethnic groups in my country. There are minority groups in my country. Yes or no?

Chuvashes, Bashkirs, Komis. Have there been migrations and resettlements?

Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks. Is everyone pleased with the current situation?

French, Italians. What do some or many people want?

Portuguese, Spanish, Greeks. What might happen in the future?

English, Irish, Scottish. What could or should people and governments do?

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