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Friedrich the Blacksmith: From the Promised Land of Catherine the Great to the Gulags of Comrade

328 pages6 hours


This story begins in the late 1890's and documents the life of an ambitious young man who grew up eagerly looking forward to a comfortable and sheltered life in an isolated community in Russia near the Polish border. In his youth this farm boy dreamed of becoming the best blacksmith in this community of ethnic German colonies in southern Russia. However, his plans for the future were interrupted when he was conscripted into the Russian Navy. Here he served as a stoker and rose in rank to become an astute marine engineer, and was decorated for bravery by Tsar Nicholas II in the disastrous Russo-Japanese naval Battle of the Yellow Sea, while he served on the flagship of Russia's First Pacific Squadron. Although he had diligently served his community, his country, and his Tsar, it is difficult to concieved how this dedicated citizen of a land which he loved and cherished, that he would end his life as a blind and destitute inmante in one of Stalin's slave labour camps.

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