Friday, May 22, 2009

Exiled to Siberia - Magdalina Beloshitskaya

experience & photos from pgs 101-103, 106 and 167 of the 2008 Yearbook

"Despite cruel opposition from the authorities, the Witnesses zealously continued to preach the good news of Jehovah's Kingdom. This irritated the central government in Moscow. It especially irritated the KGB. A memo dated February 19, 1951, from KGB to Stalin read: "To suppress any further anti-Soviet activities of the underground Jehovists, the MGB [Ministry of State Security, later the KGB] of the USSR considers it neccessary to exile known Jehovists and their families to Irkutsk and Tomsk oblasts." The KGB knew those who were Witnesses, and they asked Stalin permission to exile 8,576 people from six republics of the Soviet Union to Siberia. This permission was granted.

Magdalina Beloshitskaya recalls: "At two in the morning on Sunday, April 8, 1951, we were awakened by a loud banging on the door. Mama sprang up and ran to the door. An officer stood before us, 'You are being exiled to Siberia for believing in God,' he declared formally. 'You have two hours to pack your things...bring your bedding, clothes, and bags, and come out.'
None of us wailed or sobbed. The officer was suprised and said, 'Not one little tear has fallen from your eyes.' We told him we had been expecting this since 1948...
My eight-month old daughter was lying in a wooden cradle. We asked if we could take the cradle with us, but the officer ordered that it be taken apart. Then he gave us only the part that could hold the baby.
Soon our neighbors learned that we were being exiled. Someone brought a small bag of bread crisps, and when we were being driven away in a cart, he threw the bag into the cart. The soldier guarding us noticed and threw the bag back out. There were six of us - me, Mama, my two brothers, my husband, and our eight-month-old daughter. Beyond the village, we were bundled into a car and driven to the regional center, where our documents were filled out. Then we were taken by truck to the railway station.

It was a Sunday, a fine sunny day. The station was full of people - those being exiled and those who came to watch. Our truck pulled right up to a railway car where our brothers already were. When the train was full, the soldiers checked all by their last names. There were 52 people in our railway car. Before the departure, those seeing us off began to cry and even sob. It was amazing to watch, since we didn't even know who some of those people were. But they knew that we were Jehovah's Witnesses and that we were being exiled to Siberia. The steam engine gave a mighty whistle. Then our brothers began to sing a song in Ukrainian: 'Let the love of Christ be with you. Giving glory to Jesus Christ, we will meet again in his Kingdom.' Most of us were full of hope and faith that Jehovah would not abandon us. We sang several verses. It was so touching that some of the soldiers began to weep. Then the train went on its way."