Aliya’s grandfather was considered an “enemy of the people” because he had been in Japan. It wasn’t until after Stalin’s death in 1952 that he was able to get his reputation rehabilitated and have his passport returned to him. He treasured his communist party card. After his release from prison a second time, he returned to Kazakhstan where he had two more children, the youngest was Aliya’s mother, born in 1960. He was by this time almost 60 years old or older, Aliya’s grandmother was about 45 years old. He died almost 90 years old, the year Aliya was born in 1983.
These travails the 1.5 million “Soviet” Koreans survived during the Stalin years is just a tip of the iceberg. Many of the descendants of these Koreans still live in Kazakhstan and even in Uzbekistan. So, if we think we move around a lot, it is of our own volition. Tragically, many people in the Soviet Union did not have any time to pack or say goodbye to loved ones. I’d say they suffered emotional tsunamis many times over. May that never happen to us.