Tuesdays With Moisi ~ 3

The story continued…

This is our Pop’s story dictated verbally by him a few years ago. I’ll be sharing excerpts every Tuesday. When I add to his story or explain a photo I will Italicize my words. Our Pop’s words will not be italicized. Our mom does not come into Pop’s story until “Tuesdays With Moisi ~ 9” even though I’ve posted photos of her before #9. I have very few photos from our parents’ life in Russia and Persia. At the end of my Tuesday posts I’ll add links to all the other posts.

Eventually, another group of people decided to make a second try for Iran.  But, unknown to us, it was a plot engineered by the GPU-the Russian Secret Service.  They formed a group of which my sister and her husband, Simyon, were participants. My mother decided to send only two of us with this group while keeping the younger children.  So one evening the group, with my brother Michael and I, left. As we made our way out of the city, we walked up a small hill and down the other side. As we were descending, we were suddenly surrounded  by the militia, ordering us to put up our hands. In so doing we dropped all of our possessions. We were then ordered to march in a different direction, leaving all our possessions behind. We were all loaded onto a truck and taken to the local GPU headquarters.  When we arrived there, Simyon was taken inside and we were all herded outside underneath the open window of the room where he was being interrogated. We could hear everything that was going on inside. This was done purposely to intimidate. The interrogator showed no mercy.  Simyon was ordered to empty his pockets. Among the items in his pockets was a handwritten book of hymns. The interrogator used the book to slap Simyon across his checks repeatedly and threatened to execute him if he lied in any way. The interrogation lasted four to five hours.  Simyon was taken to a holding cell. A soldier then came out and mockingly shouted at us “Now you can go back to your dad.” We were released and went back home. My mother was naturally shocked to see us. We told her what had happened and that Simyon was now in jail.

To add to my mother’s increasing woes, my brother John was suddenly arrested one evening without warning.  His job was a source of income for our family. We were now left totally destitute. My mother in desperation would go to the railroad yards and sop up spilled oil with rags.  She would then wring out the oil from the rags into buckets and sell the buckets. She also used it as heating oil for us. This was an incredibly difficult time for us. We became intimately acquainted with hunger and cold.  When we had absolutely nothing to eat, my mother would go to the local brewery and there beg for the mash that they discarded as pig feed. She would again go to the railroad yards and scratch for the spilled flour in the dirt.  She would then combine this flour with the mash and so bake a sort of bread with these ingredients. It was very difficult to swallow this sort of food. We would soften it with our saliva and swallow it whole. We couldn’t chew it because of the dirt.

As a result of our desperate situation, I came down with a serious case of pneumonia.  My fever rose to such a degree that I became delirious and my mother lost all hope that I would survive.  But eventually I did come out of my delirium and remember very clearly my mother and another woman standing over me.  My mother was crying and the other woman was comforting her. They gave me some soup and I began to improve. Eventually my health was slowly restored.  So the years 1931 and 1932 were especially difficult for us.

Since John was mentioned in this segment, I added the photo above of the surviving Bogdanoff’s in the 1980’s with their spouses. Uncle John is the one on the top right with the beard.

About Ellenhttps://happywonderer.com/I am a wife, mother, baba (grandmother) and a loyal friend. Jesus is my King and my hope is in my future with Him.

13 thoughts on “Tuesdays With Moisi ~ 3

  1. The hardships your family endured for the sake of Christ remind me that we should expect to do the same. My heart hurts when I think of the evil people do to one another…How blessed we are to have been born when, and where, we are!

  2. Ellen, thanks so much for sharing this. I look forward to Tuesdays. I know that I have read all of this before but it amazing how much more I get out of it reading it again. I think the first time I read it I concentrated on everything Pop went through. This has helped me see Babushka in such a different light. I love you sister!

  3. What a hard life your grandmother had. And how wonderful that the story was passed on as a testimony to her faith in incredibly difficult circumstances. Many of us will never know what our forefathers went through. But I am forever grateful that they persevered in their faith and convictions because played a large part in where I am today in both my physical circumstances and in my spiritual life. Thank you for sharing your Dad’s story Ellen.

  4. I probably say this at every one of these posts, Ellen, but you have such an amazing heritage. Your grandparents are such a wonderful example of perseverance…as well as your uncles. Thank you so much for sharing this history with us. It is like having your Pop sitting here talking with us. xx

  5. I just read the first, second, and third installments aloud to my husband. I’ve heard stories like this before, like the book Coming Out of the Ice. It is incredible what people have had to endure at the hands of the state. We think it could never happen here. I’m not so sure. What courage your family had to have!

  6. What a sad story! it is incredible to hear of how our grandparents and parents were treated and what they endured! You wonder what the government would do today to compensate, had this happened here? I’m so thankful your life was spared. My dad lost two sibling in the 1930’s due to illness and his father was taken, never to be seen again. Our stories go back to the same hardships and it makes me thankful that we could meet on this side.

  7. Pingback: Tuesdays With Moisi ~ 16 | The Happy Wonderer ~ ellen b.

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