Journal Entry 3 – Alexander


August 25, 1939 They Caught My Son

Something unpredicted happened two weeks ago. It’s something that I knew would happen, easy to predict from what has been happening to others lately. I couldn’t shake off that dark, cold, and wet feeling off the back of my head. But now that it’s happened, it doesn’t matter anymore. Yuri didn’t come home after a day of work. We waited for him. But our only son never came back.

Viktor came two weeks ago and told us that he has heard some bad news. The NKVD must have taken him to some harsh and miserable gulag, just like the others. He will die there with his weak body. Who was it to blame?

Our leader Stalin has made many great decisions. The five-year plans have made so much improvement in our country’s technology and economics. However, I can still remember the show trials from a few years ago. Every man trialed confessed that they were guilty and they supported the Left Opposition and Trotsky who is long gone. And now, Stalin has signed the German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact. Even though it might give Russia some time to build military strength, it also means that the strong bear is trying to avoid damage caused by war.

But now that Yuri is gone, I shouldn’t worry or think about this anymore. I’m too exhausted to think about war. At some time during these long days, life have changed. The Russia now is not what I have first hoped for when Lenin was our leader. My dream country for Lenin to lead Russia to a new door has broken, and now that I’ve lost my only son, I don’t want anything.

I can work forever to get my son back from the harsh labor camps, even for myself to replace him, to work for him. As long as he’s safe. But where is he? How can I find him? No matter how hard I work or how strongly I believe in our leader, it’s just merely my wish. I can’t do anything to help my own son out of the man killing torturing camps.

Life is not as harsh as when I first lost my father. There were benefits for workers like us that work extra hard for everything. We earned medals and better payments. However, that was a few years ago. Now, we had insurance for accidents at work, free health service, and most important of all, we were paid on holidays. We still had to share living space, like years before and after I lost my father. That was never changed.

Last week, Viktoriya came up to me and handed me some letter paper. “I want to send him some letters,” she murmured, and her voice makes me want to cry. “He must be really lonely.” Viktoriya and I can both write now. She wanted to send Yuri some letters, but what is the address? Life is certainly better than before, at least we didn’t need to save scraps of one meal to save for the next meals.

Despite the life we are living currently has some good changes, I’m not happy. I’m afraid that I have no hope to live on. But I can’t give up. I still have Viktoriya. All we can do now is to work and wait, no matter how long it takes.