[an error occurred while processing this directive] ZEPHYR Magazine
                              T H E
                           Z E P H Y R
                  __     M A G A Z I N E
                 Issue #49               11-10-87
            A weekly electronic magazine for users of 
                        THE ZEPHYR II BBS 
                    (Mesa, AZ - 602-894-6526)
                owned and operated by T. H. Smith
                    Editor - Gene B. Williams 
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
 . You may share this magazine with your friends under the   .
 . condition that the magazine remain complete and intact,   .
 . with no editing, revisions or modifications of any kind,  . 
 . and including this opening section and statement.         .
 . If you like the magazine, our Sysop and I would appreciate.
 . it if you would let your friends know where they can log  .
 . in to find the magazine (and incidentally one of the      .
 . finest BBSs in the country!).                             .
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
                            (c) 1987

     The following is a true story. It's a quickie rundown of a 
book I'm under contract to produce. Obviously, many details are 
left out. The danger and adventures of 35 years are compressed 
into a few pages.
     I might suggest that you do a little reading to get the feel 
for the era. Even a quick reading of the information on Soviet 
and German history from an Almanac will help you.
     I also encourage you to ask questions. Not only will that 
get the board here active, it will give me a chance to think (or 
rethink) events of the project. 

                         RUN FOR FREEDOM

     In 1762 Catherine the Great took over the Romanov throne in 
Russia. She was a German princess, married into the Russian 
nobility and eventually took charge of Russia at a time when it 
was still living just a step above the stone-age. To make matters 
worse, invaders such as the Mongols had come into Russia. (Their 
influence can still be seen in those areas east of the Urals.)
     Like her predecessor, Peter the Great, she was determined to 
build a strong and independent Russia. To do this she needed 
people and labor. She turned to the people of her ancestors and 
promised them land, animals, machinery - and total freedom. 
They'd live and build in Russia, but remain German citizens 
without having to pay taxes or to serve in the Russian military. 
For many Germans, it was a dream come true. Thousands came to 
Russia and settled there. 
     The Romanov empire fluctuated. Despite advances it made, it 
tended to be highly oppressive - particularly so with 
"foreigners" living on Russian soil. 
     In 1905 a minor revolution took place. One incident was 
promptly titled, "Red Sunday." Citizens marched on the royal 
palace in Moscow. Soldiers fired on them, killing thousands of 
the unarmed peasants. 
     The rebellion was put down, but only on the surface. It went 
underground and grew stronger, driven by the ideas of people such 
as Karl Marx. The idea was that the rich had had it too good for 
too long at the expense of the common citizen.
     Violence erupted again in March of 1917. The Bolshevik 
Revolution replaced the royal tyranny with one that was even 
     Caught in the middle of it was the Gruber family. Their 
ancestors had moved into Russia at the offer of Catherine. The 
highly educated Herr Petre Gruber had served the public for years 
- helping to build power plants and telephone companies, and 
taking an instrumental part in the design and construction of the 
5000-mile long Trans-Siberian Railroad. 
     The Gruber family lived a good life in Odessa at the 
northern end of the Black Sea. They shared their wealth locally 
by supporting a local orphanage. But they committed two "crimes". 
They weren't Russian. And they were wealthy.
     In the summer of 1917 an employee of Herr Gruber's stomped 
into the office wearing the uniform of the Red Army. "I'm now in 
charge here," he announced. "Here is the schedule. Meet it or 
you'll be declared a saboteur." 
     A matter of weeks later a unit of the Red guard knocked on 
their front door with orders for the family to vacate their home 
and property by the next morning.
     Petre Gruber managed to get passage for his family on the 
train. They had a perilous journey eastward, moving from town to 
town in an effort to stay ahead of the battles of the Red and 
White armies. Along along the way they had to part with some of 
what they'd managed to take. It was given to guards and officials 
along the way as bribes to let them pass. 
     They had a second home in Kurgan near the Ural Mountains. 
For a short time, life became peaceful again. But soon the 
battles caught up with them. Young Ellichka Gruber was shot and 
trampled in one skirmish between the Red and White armies. 
     Herr Gruber soon found himself facing two conflicting 
orders. One was to rebuild the local power plant. The other was 
to leave that day to serve with the Red Army. Failure to complete 
either order meant imprisonment - or death. 
     His brother was also drafted. The two of them headed out 
with all the others. As soon as the chance presented itself, 
Petre ducked off into the darkness and then walked back home.
     He became a deserter. By the time he got back to the family 
home in Kurgan he learned that the Red Guard had been there 
first, and had once again decided that they wanted the house for 
     The family had to run again. The grandfather stayed behind 
to be sure that the home wouldn't be vandalized. A few weeks 
later he was dragged from the house, taken to the barn and hung. 
     The once wealthy family had nothing left but what they'd 
managed to carry away with them (mostly food), almost all of 
which had to be used to bribe officials to get them out of Kurgan 
and back to relative safety.
     Typhus was epidemic. People were dying everywhere. Madame 
Gruber developed tuberculosis. Young Ellichka was dying from a 
tumor. Medical help was almost impossible to find, and even more 
impossible to afford. 
     The grandmother died of cholera. Another grandfather died of 
starvation during the crop failure of 1921. An uncle was arrested 
while walking along a street, accused of espionage, imprisoned 
and then executed. With the violence increasing, Herr Gruber 
made the dangerous journey back to Kurgan to bring his uncle, 
aunt and five children to safety. He arrived just in time witness 
the family being dragged into the backyard, lined up against a 
wall and shot.
     Leaving everything behind once more, the family worked its 
way south to the Iranian border. Herr Gruber made contact with a 
group of smugglers, giving them everything the family had left to 
guide them safely across the border. One of the smugglers turned 
out to be a double agent for the Red Army. The family escaped 
into the dangerous mountains, with the Red Guard just 5 minutes 
     On the journey through the perilous mountains, one of the 
people with them decided that he wanted to marry one of the 
Gruber daughters. She wanted nothing to do with him. His response 
was to attempt to throw her off the mountain path into the canyon 
below. Petre jumped in. In the struggle, the young maniac fell 
and was crushed by the rocks below. 
     They got into Iran and were met by the local police. The 
chief of this group immediately began to search them. He 
confiscated everything they had, leaving them with nothing but 
the soiled and torn clothes they were wearing. 
     They lived in relative peace in Iran for a number of years, 
despite the growing anti-Christian movements and the unrest that 
brought on World War II. Herr Gruber's skill and knowledge as 
both an electrical and mechanical engineer made him valuable in 
Iran, just as it had made him valuable in Russia - often the only 
reason he and his family were allowed to live.
     The family wealth began to grow again. Ellichka Gruber 
married the German Consulate in Tehran. After just 3 years 
Ellichka came home one day to find him dead of a heart attack. 
     Meanwhile in Europe, a young man named Adolf Hitler had 
seized power and began to spread his control. Russia was trying 
to do the same thing. Both felt that they had claims to Poland 
(while the Polish people wanted nothing to do with either). World 
War II exploded on the world. 
     It wasn't long before the war got into Iran. The Soviets 
were invading from one direction, the British from another and 
the Germans from still another. 
     The Gruber family had little choice but to flee once more. 
It wasn't quick enough. Petre Gruber and his son-in-law were 
captured and sent to a prison camp. They were fortunate enough to 
have been captured by the British. Their prison camp was in 
Australia, where they were treated decently. Many thousands of 
others refuges were taken to Soviet prison camps, where about 
half died of disease, cold and starvation.
     Ellichka and her sister weren't much luckier. Just a few 
miles from the Turkish border they were met by Soviet soldiers. 
Everything was taken from them and they were told to walk the 
last few miles into Turkey.
     Penniless, they finally reached Vienna, along with thousands 
of other German refugees. From here they were sent to their 
ancestral home in Berlin. 
     Life was difficult. At last they found a small apartment. It 
was so small that they had to put nails in the walls so that they 
could hang up the few pieces of furniture to provide room on the 
floor for sleeping.
     Then came the bombing raids. 
     They again lost everything. In one raid they almost lost 
their lives. When the warning sirens went off, they headed for 
the only safe place - the subways. This time it wasn't so safe. A 
bomb struck immediately above and collapsed the walls in on them. 
Worse, the explosion had caused a water main to burst. The little 
room began to fill with water. 
     They were trapped beneath the rubble, in the dark and with 
the sound of the rising water. It took more than a day for 
rescuers to get them out.
     With just a few periods of peace, they'd now lived in danger 
for nearly 30 years. Enough was enough. They moved to Halberstat 
where things were more quiet. 
     They weren't quiet for long. Halberstat was also bombed 
almost out of existence. The family hid in the caves outside of 
town. All they had left were belongings that would fit in a small 
wagon - and Ellichka's new child.
     The war ended, and troubles began all over. Germany was 
divided between the conquering powers. Halberstat was in the 
Soviet Zone. As if the normal oppression wasn't enough, the 
Gruber was on a wanted list. 
     Ellichka was in the process of trying to get a divorce from 
her husband. He beat her mercilessly and abused the child. When 
she told him of the divorce he became furious and turned the 
family in to the Soviets. 
     A friend warned them. They grabbed what they could in 10 
minutes and fled, hoping to get to the British Zone. 
     They weren't the only ones with that idea. The Soviets knew 
it and set up constant patrols along the roads. Again and again 
they had to dive into the bushes to hide, while swallowing the 
terror of watching the soldiers capture or shoot down those who 
weren't lucky enough to find a hiding place.
     Life wasn't good, but at least they'd made it to the British 
Zone and were treated decently. Over the next 7 years the family 
was reunited and eventually ended up in Paris. From there they 
boarded a ship and ended up in America. 
     After 35 years, they finally found peace and freedom.


     I'll keep you all informed as to title change, publisher, 
publication date, etc. 
     To date I've written pretty close to 10 million words. In 
all of that, this is the most exciting project I've done. Think 
of it like a roller coaster.
     It begins with the family having considerable wealth, and 
being such that they share this with anyone less fortunate. (For 
example, imagine the cost of supporting an orphanage with 65 
children in it - and then putting up those kids when the 
orphanage burns.) This is the highest peak of the roller coaster.
     Through no fault of their own they lose everything they had 
in Odessa. The roller coaster hits a steep drop.
     The family goes to Kurgan, and the roller coaster slowly and 
laboriously climbs to a low peak - and then drops even lower when 
the Red Guard takes the home, confiscates all property, lynches 
the grandfather and slaughters a whole family including the 
     It comes up again, just slightly, in the town of Merv, and 
plunges straight to the ground floor when everything is taken 
from the family as they enter Iran.
     Now the coaster trudges slowly, with rusty and squeaking 
wheels, to another peak. The family reaches a level of fair 
wealth. Only to have the roller coaster dive not just to ground 
level but beneath when everything is once again taken from them, 
including the father and son-in-law.
     The next climb upwards is even more squeaky. The next plunge 
- when all their belongings are destroyed in the bombing raid and 
the family is trapped underground - is severe. The roller coaster 
barely manages to climb the next small rise, and falls again with 
Ellichka hiding in a trench with her baby son while soldiers are 
shooting those around her.
     It's now another 35 years later. Ellichka is still alive at 
78. The baby son she held in that trench is a noted psychologist 
living in Wisconsin. Both are comfortable. All turned out well 
for them. But that doesn't erase what happened.
     Try to imagine yourself going through even a part of that. 
Try to imagine soldiers banging on your door and telling you to 
leave NOW! Imagine them grabbing 7 of your relatives, down to a 
2-year-old child, and shooting them all in their own backyard.
     Imagine having the police take everything you have, and then 
throwing you into jail because you don't have anything.

     Next time?
     I don't know. Thane tells me that this subboard is the most 
widely read. It also gets the least response. That lack of 
response makes it very easy to put this on low priority.
     You want more frequent issues? 
     Take a couple of minutes now and then to take part. Don't be 
silent reader.

Zephyr Magazine is © Gene Williams. All rights reserved.