The Muths of Wiesenmuller
by Alexander Muth as told to Ruth Muth Grenard
|Ruth MUTH GRENARD writes:
"... I have received help in the interpretation of a letter I received
from Alexander MUTH from Germany, who happens to be my second cousin. I
sent him a copy of the MUTH Chart of Wiesenmuller, Russia,' and he is
responding to that and answered some other questions that I had. "
[Following are portions from the letter from Alexander MUTH] :
|I was born in the town of
Wiesenmuller on March 30, 1925. I went to seven classes in school to speak
German. That was in 1939. On the 5th of September, 1941, I was, with
my parents, four brothers and two sisters from the place where we were bom
thrown out. I was sixteen years old. Within two hours, we had to leave
everything. We had oxen and had to take the oxen team and travel 35 km to
the next train station. The next day, our family and the other people from
the same town were put on cattle cars on a train. We traveled for two
weeks to Krasnojarsk Siberia. It was 4,000 km from Wiesenmuller. Then they
separated us around to the Russian towns.
We lost everything; no place to live, nothing to eat. We had to depend upon the Russians; we .had to beg -for everything. We had to go to work in the work labor camp. The family of six children, our parents, the. grandmother who had two children that weren't married - they found an abandoned house. That is where we had to stay. We had nothing to eat. It had already snowed. Then we started to try to get a house. The house just had two rooms and kind of like a room where everybody could go to. That was the end of September.
In January of 1942, all of the men from 16 to 55 were put in the forced labor camp. My father and all of my uncles had to go. I was okay for a couple of months. On the way to this location, I wasn't well; that is why I didn't have toga to the work army right away. The men had to go back to the railroad cattle car and be transported to a work camp. There they had barbed wire around them and the soldiers were watching them. We had to do the harvest work with very little food and with very bad conditions. A lot of people died.
In March of 1942, when I got a little more healthy, then they took me, too. They took me to the north side ~f tile Ural mountains in the Swerdlowsk District. I was sixteen years old and on the way to that location I turned seventeen. I barely stayed alive. I had to stay there until the war (WW II) was over, under those conditions. We were watched and we had. barbed wire around us.
The war was over in 1945. Another Kommandaturaufsicht [work camp] we had to go to. We had to stay there .and then they started to pay us some money then. Before that we had to work for something to eat and a place to stay. Now we had to take care of ourselves and every month we had to sign in with that Kommandanten just ·to let them know we were still there. We couldn't leave the place without permission and if somebody tried to leave without permission they would get punished. I had to stay there for ten years under those conditions and I couldn't ever go and move with my family and parents.
After Stalin died, then we had three more years until we could finally leave. Then we could stay· anywhere in Russia, but we couldn't stay in the place where we came from. In 1950, I married the daughter of Abram and. Anna WIENS, whose name is Katharina. In 1957, when I got free from the Kommandatur, we moved from-the Urals to Kirgistien my wife and three children and my in-laws. To the State of Kant. This land is in the middle area, under the Chinese border. We had, in the Ural mountains, a little house and we sold it. In Kirgistan we built another house. We lived here from 1957-1989, when we moved to Germany. The last house we were living in, in Russia~ we left to our children. We moved to Germany with our youngest son and our youngest daughter and my mother-in-law. We left behind five children in Kirgistan. In 1990,four more of my children came with their families to Germany. In 1993, the oldest son came with his family to Germany. Now, two of my sisters and one brother and all their families live in Germany. Two brothers died in Russia. The one brother that died, his wife and daughter are in Germany, too. The sister-in-law wants to go to Germany, too, but she is still in Russia.
My father was born October 25, 1899 and he died in 1961. My mother was born Amalia FRITZLER on June 12, 1900 and died May 20,1959. My parents had it real hard during the war, that is probably why they died so early.
In Germany we are pretty much taken care of; we now have much to eat and enough to drink and places to live. We still don't feel like it is our home. In Germany, the German people don't welcome the Germans from Russia because they say we take their jobs. The German people and the German Russian .people do not understand each other very well because the German dialect is different. The German Russians have a lot of children, and the German people don't like that too much. The older people want to build their own houses and they just want to live in peace with their children.
At first I never really had an interest where my parents and grandparents came from. Then I got a letter from Sue KOTTWITZ. I had no more hope that I could find out something about my forefathers. I didn't know that my grandfather had a brother over there in America. I never heard too much from my father or my grandmother, Katharina Elisabeth MUTH, who was born DORSCH, that they had relatives in America.
In the 1930's and 1940's it was very difficult; they couldn't say anything about that because somebody could die for it.
You wrote me that you had obtained from Dr. Pleve of Saratov a paper on the family MUTH from Wiesenmuller. I can't understand it completely. Everything that was written on this paper [Pleve's chart] about our grandfather, Alexander MUTH, born on October 27, 1878, and our grandmother Katharina Elisabeth DORSCH, was absolutely right. The only one that still needs to be put on there is my uncle, Johannes MUTH, born August 13, 1914 and died March 13,1997. He is the youngest son.
My grandfather, Alexander MUTH, I didn't know him. In 1915, he was sent by the army to the Turkish front and jt was there that he got sick and died. His gravestone, where he was buried, is unknown. My grandmother, in 1930, she inherited her house - a big house. The summer kitchen in back of the house, she moved in there with her three children: Friedrich, Johannes, and Emilie. That was a summer house, where in the summertime they would cook and eat. They had land with a big fruit garden (orchard) and a lot of livestock. If my grandfather hadn't stayed at the Front, then they would have taken them all to Siberia. My father, his brother Jakob, and our oldest sister Amalia, they were all married at the time and they were already away from our grandmother (weren't living with her.) We all had hard years and then on February 23, 1971, in the State of Verbannungsort, she was 72 years old (that is where they put us) she died. All of her children are dead and rest in peace in Siberia, along with our mother.
[ABOUT WIESENMULLER] The town lies on the Jeruslan stream, a tributary of the Volga. It is 35 km from the Volga in the Steppe. Now days. the town is called Lugowoje. They had 6 streets in the town of Wiesenmuller with numbers on them from one to six. There was a big wide street called Ploschtjatj and it was divided into two parts. You could drive in from Seelmann and then the street ran directly to the church and that was the third street. It was a beautiful church and was destroyed in 1934 or 1935. They sawed it in half and destroyed it. Made a town club out of it for the Soviets.
In 1937, we had a big harvest in Wiesenmuller and put it in storage. The Soviets used our grain, put it in their storage. Then we were forced to leave the town in 1941 and they made the church into a grain storage. In 1956, I went and visited the town, and the church was only just dirt where the church was. Most of the houses were destroyed. I have a map of Wiesenmuller from Alexander SCHWINDT. He lived in our town and worked in a cheese factory in Wiesenmuller. [This is the AHSGR map of our village.] If you look on that map I will tell you where some of our relatives lived. I think your grandfather's house was 490 which was behind our grandmother's house. The way I am thinking, across from the church was the school. In 1937 they built a school on the Fifth Street House number 418 was Fritze MUTH our grandfather. House number 279 was Heinrich SCHNEIDER. House number 344 was Hanjabs MUTH. House number 619 was Friedrich KINDSVATER. House number 816 was the Old MUTH. House number 815 was Feter Jaru SCHAFER. House 193 was Feter Hainses FRITZLER.
We had two stores in the town where we could get our necessities. We had a machine and tractor station and a cheese factory. We lived on the Sixth Street in 1929 when we built the house - this is number 816. It was a nice town and was on the stream where the kids could bathe in the summertime.
In 1956, I visited the town. When I was there, almost the whole town was destroyed. The houses were nothing but dirt piles. Even the graveyard was pretty much destroyed. The whole town had strangers living there. My parent's house was still standing.
And then in 1972, the second time I went and visited, then my parent's house wasn't there either. It made me pretty sick. My heart was heavy when I left the town.
My grandparents got married in Gnadenthau. The sister to my mother lived there.'