18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
Anton Zadorozhniy (80)

"The first words I heard that night were, "Children, let's go up to Siberia". What could we collect in 2 hours? Nothing, some clothes, some food and that’s it. Shortly before leaving, the family got to know that we were being taken to Siberia, so they ran to the platform at Rozvadiv station, where we were already loaded into cattle wagons and began to throw us bread through the windows for the road and we said goodbye. I was 10 years old. I recall that in Siberia all of us were lined up and then escorted by soldiers to the market so that we could buy some food. The soldiers gave us two hours and after that, we came back home in the same line. Later, as a teenager, I felt an inner thirst for music. I received primary musical education in Siberia. At 18 I went to work on a sawmill, while I dreamed of having my own personal instrument. The work was very exhausting, I worked 3 shifts, for a shift I cut 120 cubes of wood on the sawmill. Anyway, I managed to collect a new German accordion It cost a very expensive 400 rubles, it still makes a great sound. Music was for me the only outlet that helped me to forget about the harsh reality". Violating fundamental human rights throughout its regime, the Soviet Union persecuted, imprisoned, sent to hard labor, Jehovah's Witnesses only because they did not compromise their worldview and refused to worship Stalin or promote communist military interests. Anton was taken to Siberia during a secret operation, called “North”, on April 8, 1951. Then almost 9000 Jehovah's Witnesses were under arrest for 14 years.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 09.2020
Date Uploaded: 11.2020
Photo Location: Krupske, Ukraine
Copyright: © Artur Abramiv