Arrest and Imprisonment of Ekaterina Voronaev (1933)
The (un)Forgotten: Story of the Voronaev Children
Missions & Intercultural Studies
Dony K. Donev, D. Min.
Presented at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies
“On one miserable cold, dark night in March 1933, Mother had gone to bed sick. After midnight a loud knock at the door awakened us. Three Secret Police officers entered and one of them shouted, “Citizen Ekaterina Voronaeff, you are under arrest.” Mother hurriedly dressed. My little brother and sister awoke and began to cry as they saw the police ripping our clothes and mattresses …. I can still see my mother standing in the middle of that awful room with graying hair, lips trembling on her sweet pale face, and her bright blue eyes filled with tears. Heartbroken, Timothy and Hope sobbed a last loving good-bye as our dear mother was dragged away to prison.”
Ekaterina Voronaev would spend 24 long and horrible years in prison before seeing her children again. After being arrested on April 10, 1933 she spent 15 months in the Odessa prison interrogated constantly, 18 hours straight at times, and was sentenced to life imprisonment in mid-Asia. Petition sent to the Aid to Political Prisoners led by Ekaterina Peshkova (wife of Russian author Maxim Gorky) had little effect on the situation. Her children were allowed to see her only once, before she was sent to Siberia.
As both Voronaev parents were now in prison, and their American born boys had been safely returned, Paul, Hope and Timothy remained in Communist Russia. They were all born there, but this was hardly their country. Their parents have travelled the world and returned to their motherland only to find out it had become foreign to them. Paul was born somewhere on the Eastern Asian border, Hope and Timothy in Odessa, but now that they had no city on earth to call home and no one left to look after them. These children truly belonged to Heaven and God…