March 2, 2009

"Lost in an historical abyss"

Close to 30,000,000 people were killed by the communists in the USSR, not including deaths from the Second World War.

Russian civil war (1917-1922) 9,000,000 deaths.
Soviet Union under Stalin (1924-1953) 20,000,000 deaths.

Jon Utley's father was one of them.  Jon was only two years old when his father, Arcadi Berdichevsky, a Russian trade official, was sent to a Soviet labor camp by the Soviet secret police.  Because his mother was a British intellectual , she was able to escape with her young son and from there to the USA.

Beginning in 2004,  Jon Utley began a search to find out what happened to his father.  Reason.TV now is making available online the 30 minute documentary Jon Utley's Search for his father which I highly recommend.

So much of what happened under the communists has been "lost in an historical abyss", so it's heartening to see Russians in the north, the Komey republic,  constructing memorials to the executed prisoners who built much of their cities and piecing together files so that descendants can find out what happened to their parents and ancestors who died as prisoners in labor camps.

Jon Utley found the place where his father was executed.  He saw the surroundings, the land and considered a great gift to do so before he died.  There he found a sense of peace, a continuity of being with his long-dead father.

Seventy years later, witness is still being made.

Posted by Jill Fallon at March 2, 2009 11:12 PM | Permalink