By Carl Tobien

The extraordinary story of Margaret Werner, the only American Woman to survive Stalin’s Gulag

This was an incredible story! It is written by Margaret’s son, Carl.

between 1930 and 1932, Henry Ford sent some of his employees over from Detroit to Gorky, Russia, to live and operate a manufacturing facility. Carl and Elizabeth Werner were one of those familes along with their daughter, Margaret. Joseph Stalin was in charge of Russia at this time. When Margaret was 17, men came into their house and arrested her father on a trumped up charge of treason. Her mother and her, never saw him again. (He was pardoned post-humanously many years later.)

Heartbroken, they attempted to survive in the harsh climate of the Soviet state. They lived in a tiny apartment that would not be classified as much more than a closet here, survived by eaten potatoes that had frozen and were horrible tasting, but kept them alive. They had a sense of humor which kept them going, laughing at the horrible food they had to eat and the lifestyle they had to live. Margaret could not keep from wondering about her father and asked alot fo questions, she asked some of the wrong people, who although had good intentions, it got around to people who had Margaret arrested and sentenced to 10 years of hard labor in Stalin’s Gulag.

Even in this, with horrible living conditions, hard work and other things, she trusted God. Her mother could come to visit her when she could and she became part of a ballet group that entertained the other workers. She became very close to some of the other people there, so much so, she really missed them when she was freed!

It was 30 years before Margaret ever made it back to the USA. Through a mix-up her citzenship has been revoked and it took alot of work to get her out of Russia and Germany.

I found this story inspiring! It could have been a very depressing story, yet her story is told in a way that you see the grace of these 2 women, Margaret and her mother, as they survived where they did not belong.

I was really surprised as I did not know why Henry Ford would send Americans over to Russia at that time. Her father had so much trouble with the workers as they were not good workers. On the back of the book it says how Margaret came to realize her dependance upon “the Grace, favor, and protection of an unseen God.” I think if more of us saw that, we would look at the difficulties in our lives in a different way as well.

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  1. cappuccinosmom

    That does sound interesting! It's always a little overwhelming to me to think about all the people who have stories that have never been written about that period in history.

    The books and dvd's I reviewed were all from the library. I just discovered book request, and we have a huge system here in Pittsburgh!

  2. Anonymous

    Greetings! As the book's author, I am very touched by your kind words and flattering book review. I am happy to hear that this historically unprecedented and miraculous true story of one remarkable woman's life has made such a deep and lasting impact upon the life of another, for that was and is the very intent. Margaret Werner was an absolutely incredible and unbelievable individual in every respect. I know; I got to see it all firsthand.

    History has taught us a lot about communism, the Cold War, and the so-called "politics" of that particular era, but the simple truth is that–in Russia, this was just a time of unparalleled global wickedness and pure evil! To call it anything other…as our godless liberal clan will always do, is just to cover the truth with a blanket of deception, intentional deception. I call it ignorance: failing to recognize and accept the obvious. (as only atheists can do 🙂

    Anyway, this time period was only "unparalleled," however, up to and including that particular era of world history. And today, I'm sad to say, whether we believe it or not, things are even worse! All we need do is tune in to the daily world news to realize that. But the good news (if we're not too blind to see) is that there is indeed an answer!

    I think your comment about God summed it up perfectly. Yes, He was there. And yes, He is still here today. He's still on the throne, and he's still very much in charge of all this mess! If we'll only be quiet for long enough, and seek Him with our whole hearts…we will feel His presence, His love, and His desire to impact our lives, to change us…as well as the world around us.

    As in the case of Margaret Werner, God wants to do equally extraordinary things with our lives–yours and mine–working in us and through us, to touch and to help mend this deeply disturbed world, one person at a time. May He continue to work in your life, my friend, with divine favor; to astound you, and to bless you in ways unimaginable! K. Tobien

  3. Martha

    Wow! I have to say I am slightly flattered that my little write-up caught your attention, I have to whole heartily agree with your statements. My husband is Russian and was born there, so I have heard the stories fromthere and yet, today our world is not much better! Thank you for your comment!

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