A portraits series of forgotten Germans who were exiled to the Komi Republic, Russia during and after WWII. A region situated west of the Ural Mountains in the far north of the Russian European plain. I was drawn to this culturally unique region because of its autonomous nature and an interest of the indigenous people that reside there, in particular Russian Germans who make up a small amount of the population.
I worked in and around German communities such as Syktyvkar, Ezhva, Maksakovka, Sedkyrkesch, Krasny, Zaton, and the industrial and woodworking areas.
Since 1942, the Komi Republic was occupied by the Trudarmeytsy Germans from the eastern regions of the USSR. Germans were exposed not only to national discrimination, but they were also denied many civil rights. Their lives constantly came up against various kinds of restrictions and prohibitions. Special settlers did not have passports, which virtually made them outcasts in a society, many people including women and children served time as prisoners in labor camps and were forced to work in coal mines, build railway lines and housing.
Russian Germans who wished to remain in the Komi, decided to consolidate. They began to band together in places where they could preserve their national identity, culture and language. Years later, Russian Germans struggle to maintain their identity and hold on to traditional values, as younger generations of Russian and German descent integrate.