I’m sadden by the developments in Ukraine. History does repeat itself. My ancestors were Black Sea Germans—Germans who migrated to modern-day Ukraine at the invitation of Catherine the Great and Alexander I. My ancestors were promised peace, ability to worship and speak German freely, and exempt from military service.
It began to change in the beginning of the 20th century and then after the Bolshevik Revolution, it totally changed. Man-made famine and closure of schools and churches led to marches to forced-labor camps and death in Siberia. My family had migrated to the United States in 1909 so was spared the worst of it.
Ukraine is, again, a place caught by the changing whims of Russia.