Before our cruise ship arrived at the port of St. Petersburg in 2017, Russia had been in the American headlines for months. That wasn't unusual: its predecessor, the Soviet Union, made headlines all the time during my father's Foreign Service career promoting American democracy to stem the tide of Communism. The Russians were the Bad…
My parents were both half Norwegian. Mom's maternal family originally were the Kjilis, which someone at Ellis Island translated as Kelly. Dad's paternal family were the Amundsons, which someone at Ellis Island translated as Amerson.
he contrast between what had been part of the USSR and what was still Russia could not have been greater when my husband and I visited Tallin, Estonia and St. Petersburg, Russia one day apart during our 2017 Baltic Sea cruise.
Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum. Sachsenhausen, Himmler’s model concentration camp. Built to give architectural expression to the Nazi world view. Designed to symbolize the subjugation of its 200,000 prisoners to the absolute power of the SS.
They slept a hundred to a barracks built for a third that, shoving to get to the small toilet and washing space and crust of bread before the guards pushed them out to the windswept yard to stand in the open for hours.