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Collectivization in the Soviet Union: German Letters to America, 1927-1932
(released May 2012)
314 pages

Collectivization in the Soviet Union: German Letters to America, 1927-1932, is the latest offering of the Glückstal Colonies Research Association. This work presents a more humanistic view of life in the former German colonist villages of South Russia during the earliest years of the Soviet Union. Most of the letters were written by village correspondents to German-language newspapers published in the United States. The earlier letters contain many names, places and family events. Censorship by the Soviet regime in the late 1920's and early 1930's had become ever more oppressive. Metaphors were often used to disguise descriptions of events that would not have passed the eye of the censor. Most of the letters published in this work were written by Jakob Ahl (1873-1936) from Bergdorf, a German colony in Odessa Province, South Russia. His language and subject matter indicates that he had an extensive classical education in religion and philosophy. He was an Evangelical Lutheran lay minister/sexton and teacher in numerous villages in South Russia for more than 37 years. Ahl was able to capably discuss current world events and apply his logic and knowledge to an intelligent discussion about them. While he was free with his strongly stated opinions, he often used humor to soften his language. His adages and poems were often based on folklore and the text of German hymns dating back to pre-colonial times.
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