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Flight from the Red Hell by Heinrich Neuwirt

Edited By Virginia L. Lewis

This autobiographical narrative provides a unique personal account of the life of a Volga German under the Bolshevik Revolution and subsequent famine, agricultural collectivization, and Stalinist regime with its persecution of minorities including ethnic Germans in the Soviet Union. The fact that its author, master miller Heinrich Neuwirt (1902-1953), survived as long as he did is a testimony to the resourcefulness, determination to survive, and capacity to endure hardship he evinced as he was repeatedly ensnared in Stalin’s net, imprisoned, enslaved, and finally sent to the Russian front in a penal army. Neuwirt only managed to produce his account as a result of finding refuge in West Germany after the war, and although the manuscript made it to Volga German relatives in the United States, nothing came of publication efforts since it was written in German. The value of this manuscript lies in its first-person documentation of Volga German life under Stalin. German professor and literary scholar Virginia L. Lewis has rendered Neuwirt’s original German account into faithful English translation.