Innocents remembered

1937 – Stalin’s Year of Terror
Helmut T. Huebert

Springfield Publishers, 2009
281 pages


The 1930s, especially the years 1936–1938, was the period in Soviet Russia when thousands of innocent people – many Mennonites among them – were arrested, imprisoned, exiled, and often shot. Helmut Huebert’s book focuses on the year 1937, the height of Stalin’s terror.

The introductory chapters deal briefly, among other things, with the perpetrators of Soviet crime, including Stalin, and some of his henchmen in the Secret Police. But there is also a short biography of Lenin’s wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, who interceded on behalf of some of the victims.

The largest part of the book is a list of 1,962 names of Mennonite men and women who were imprisoned, exiled, and executed in 1937 (pages 47–207). Based on Peter Letkemann’s extensive
research, the names are listed alphabetically for easy reference by readers looking for relatives.

In addition, there are some 30 brief biographies of some of the victims arrested in 1937. Their stories are interesting, but painful, reading. The accompanying photographs portray Mennonite men, women, and families whose lives were cut short by the brutal regime.

This interesting and valuable book includes many black and white pictures, maps, and a list of useful titles for further reading.

Harry Loewen is professor emeritus of history and Mennonite studies. He attends First Mennonite Church in Kelowna, B.C.

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