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Hein Dyck, at 23, years old, was sentenced to

hard labor in Siberia for life.

Hein, arrested and tortured during Stalin's Purges, 1936 



Hein Dyck grew up in the Mennonite village of Nieder-Chortitza, Ukraine. He was four in 1917 when the Bolshevik Revolution introduced communism into Russia. He would live to see the beginning and the end of Communism, and suffer first-hand many of its horrors.  


In his teen years, Hein worked on the Soviet collective farm. As Stalin’s Five-Year Plan progressed, a large-scale famine (the Holodomor) broke out in 1932-33. Hein was caught stealing potatoes, and after being threatened with exile to Siberia, went into hiding for several months. 


After the famine, Hein joined the Red Army in 1934 to support his family. He was arrested in 1936 during Stalin's Purge, accused of treason, tortured, and sentenced to slave labor in Siberia for the remainder of his life. He worked in a Gulag prison camp in Kolyma for 20 years.  Hein was finally able to leave the Soviet Union in the 1990s, after the fall of communism.  

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