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Conversations with the Elders

Family Histories of Survivors of Stalin's Labor Camps, mostly in the Parish of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary, Chelyabinsk, Russia.

© Copyright 1997 Congregation of the Sisters of St. Agnes, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, all rights reserved


Family Histories of the following older parishioners and friends of Immaculate Conception Parish in Chelyabinsk, Southern Urals district, Russia, and its mission parishes are being recorded in a series of "Conversations" by Sister Alice Ann Pfeifer with Sister Mary Elise Leiker, her interpreter and interviewer. 

About the Conversations and Their Authors

Sister Alice Ann Pfeifer (born 1953), a member of the Congregation of St. Agnes (C.S.A.) and a 1971 graduate of Thomas More Prep-Marian in Hays, Kansas, U.S.A., was part of the exploratory team sent in May of 1993 to gather information on a possible mission of the Agnesians to Russia.

When she returned on mission to Chelyabinsk in August, 1995, her arrival brought the number of Agnesian Sisters in Siberia to five - four of them from Ellis County, Kansas. Sister returned to the U.S. in February, 1996, and returned to Chelyabinsk in August of 1996.

While spending most of her time in Russian-language study, Sister also began recording the tragic stories of various ethnic-German exiles in Chelyabinsk - a subject which should be of interest to the many descendants and friends of Germans from Russia who settled in the U.S., Canada, and southern South America in the half century between 1874 and 1924.

Sister wrote the first four articles in this series prior to returning to the U.S. in February, 1996, and the rest since her return to Siberia in August of 1996.

Sister is the daughter of Ida Schaffer Pfeifer (born 1922) of Liebenthal, Kansas, and the late Albert Frank Pfeifer (1920-1974). Her grandparents - George Pfeifer (1886-1955), Rose Herrman Pfeifer (1891-1956), Alex Schaffer (1896-1976) and Rosalia Legleiter Schaffer (1901-1967) - were all born in the U.S. Many of her great grandparents, however, were brought to the U.S. by their parents from Russia's Volga River Valley in the 1870s.

[All bracketed material in these Conversations are editorial notes by Fr. Blaine Burkey, O.F.M.Cap.]