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© 2017 by Pamela Atherstone

Sofia stopped and faced

Katerina; tears welled up in

her pale blue eyes as she, too,

removed her facial covering. “Katerina you are as close

to me as anybody has ever been. You are friend,

companion, partner and confidant. If we were sisters we could not be closer. So I feel you already know the answer to your question. The Soviets do not care about any of us, we will never know what has happened to our children or husbands or any of our people. Future generations will never know we even existed…” she paused and turned Katerina to face the

path they had just traversed. The wind was blowing loose snow over their tracks. Sofia’s voice trailed away as she continued, “we will all

just vanish…like footprints in the wind.”

...Like Footprints in the Wind

​A Generation Lost

 

Few people know about the “Purge of the Kulaks” in Russia, as this is a suppressed part of history.  Based on real stories of people who actually lived through this terrible time, the fictional Jahnle family is falsely “evacuated” from their farm in a small village near the Black Sea, and begins their journey north, into the unknown, with many other German-Russian families like them.  It is nearly harvest season of 1929.  Not understanding what is happening to them, the family experiences adventure at the beginning of their trek, as they traverse the first four hundred miles by horse and wagon.  During this trip they come into contact with the NKVD (the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs, which later becomes the foundation of the KGB.)  They are loaded into an overcrowded cattle-car on a very long train and taken nearly nine-hundred miles to the labor camps on the coast of the White Sea, near the town of Onega, in western Siberia. Here they are exposed to separation, interrogation, starvation, over-work, cruelty and death.  What happens when the youngest daughter is claimed by an old woman who lives alone in the forest?  What adventures lay before those who are able to reunite? How far do they have to travel to reach safety?  The ever-present love of the family members for one another, combined with the solid foundation of their faith in God, runs like a fine silk thread holding them together through the worst of situations, and yet doubt and disbelief often permeate their souls.  But this story is not all doom and gloom.  There is hope and the promise of a better life for some of them.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebecca's Reads Choice Awards Winner!

Best Fiction Book of the Year 2013 

First Place: Historical Fiction