A Soviet immigrant whose father was killed by the KGB reveals what life was like under Stalin
By David Choi
The year was 1938. Joseph Stalin manned the helm of the Soviet Union, and all of its implications, such as the unforgiving purges, were in full effect.
Anatole Konstantin, who was ten-years-old at the time, found his father had been taken from Stalin’s secret police in the middle of the night. Without any explanation of why he was taken, his family assumed that it was because of the contact they made with their parents back in Romania, during a time when any contact with a foreign nation was suspected to be an act of espionage.
Shortly afterwards, his family was labeled as an enemy of the state and was evicted not only from their home, but the town as well. After they were forced to leave, they settled in a collective farm in Kazakhstan as refugees. It was there his mother struggled to raise two boys by taking on menial tasks, such as stacking bricks and bootlegging.
Konstantin, who ended up finding his way to the United States in 1949, wrote several memoirs of his struggles as a boy who lived during Stalin’s reign, and his life as a “displaced person” trying to attain the elusive American Dream.
He held a Reddit AMA, with the help of his grandson, to shed light on these experiences. During the online Q&A session, he recounted the excruciatingly long process of what it was like to discover his father’s outcome:
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