Please Let Freedom Ring for All

I grew up in a very apolitical home. My mother was too busy raising five children as well as having a job outside the home, and my father was advised by his father to never join any political organizations. Living in the Soviet Union, Dad was aware of the dangers of speaking negatively about anyone in power, so we never had lively political conversations at dinner time. It was more like, “He hit me,” or “Whatever you do, don’t spill the wine!”

Most of my siblings are definitely more vocal politically than either of our parents, but I am careful about voicing my opinions about what is happening in our country because I generally avoid confrontations.

However, the pardon of the racist sheriff from Arizona has made my blood boil. I read about the targeted immigration raids and traffic stops, and the harsh treatment of prisoners under his watch. The inmates were given moldy bread and rotten fruit to eat, forced to sleep outside in tents with oppressive summertime temperatures, and in the winter, heat was used sparingly. Warm clothing was not an option.

This reminded me of the arrest of my father’s sister as she was headed to the American Embassy in the Soviet Union. The charge was “violation of passport regulations.” She was sentenced to imprisonment for one year. The conditions in those prisons was abysmal.

Our family always knew this story, but I always thought, “But that happened in Russia in 1942. It would never happen here, and surely it would not be condoned.”

My daughter told me that she threw her phone across the couch when she heard the news of the pardon—by the President of the United States—of the man responsible for the terror in Arizona targeted toward the Latino community. I felt sick to my stomach.

Each day, I watch the news and wonder how much worse can it get? What is happening to our “Sweet Land of Liberty?” What would Dad think?

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About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as ancestry.com, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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