Village Reactions to Deportation

It is clear in chapters 3-5 in Biography of No Place that deportation was a chaotic and poorly planned event. Not enough resources were given to the villagers who were moving, nor were enough resources given to the people moving them so that they could have a safe journey. In fact, in the chapter “A Diary of Deportation”, Zborovskii mentions that there were not enough wagons to carry the elderly and the children to the resettlement areas. Some placed did not even have enough paper for him to write on. However, this did not seem to affect some of the villager’s outlooks on deportation. In fact, some villagers were happy to be sent to these new areas.

“18 February 1935: In the [German] village of Negeim I called a meeting of the Young Communist League at 10:00 a.m. to get their participation in the campaign. They broke into four brigades. We informed the families concerned…about90% were happy to be going. For instance, Gustav Ryk said, “I am happy about the resettlement. It will be a lot better in the new place. They have good black earth there.”

Some villages, though, were upset or confused about why they were being deported. One townsperson said it was because they were trying to get rid of Polish and German residents. Others believed it to be a punishment for refusing to do collective farming. Why do you think that some villages were happy to move, while others weren’t? What could have convinced them that this was a good move?

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