Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Forsaken Americans

Here's the remarkable story of some hundreds or thousands of Americans who vanished in the Soviet Union during the 1930s and later. They took ship for Russia to escape the Great Depression in what they had been assured was a worker's paradise. Among them were some hundreds of former Ford Motor Company workers, hired to set up and run an assembly plant for Model A cars and trucks. (In a brilliant stroke, Henry Ford sold the plant just as he was phasing out the "A" in favor of the 1932 "B" model and the later and more streamlined V-8s.) In the end, many of them wound up being driven to prison in the very automobiles they'd helped to manufacture. Many or most were shot; some may have survived for years in the Gulag prison camps; at least one eked out his life in Kazakhstan, where Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn did his time, and where my friend Basia was briefly exiled. See it at Blue skies! -- Dan Ford


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