Gold and Money in Extremis… One Man’s Story
By Daily Reckoning Contributor
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I was ordered to get my coat and accompany them. I was taken to a station and asked many questions. It was a stroke of luck for me that the Russian soldier to whom I had spoken in the past was here among them. After conferring with the others, he said: “Because you were born in Siberia, speak Russian, and you’re an uneducated worker — much like us — we will not detain you further. You may go for now.” He then gently grabbed my elbow and said very quietly, “Go back to your family, Marion. Get prepared for deportation to Siberia.” I ran home.
At dawn, I retrieved the gold and jewelry. I found my largest boots and heaviest jacket. I lined the bottom of my boots carefully with small coins and put leather over the insoles. I slit the heels, carefully hollowed out what I could and stuffed larger gold coins inside the cavities. Finally, I opened up various parts of my jacket and distributed more gold chain and coins in it — with great care so they did not rattle and were hard to detect.
Several days later, we were awakened by a knock at 4 a.m. and told we were being deported to Siberia. We were given 15 minutes to gather any personal belongings needed for immediate use. Our land, homes, and possessions were now property of the Russian state. My wife, my three-year-old daughter, and I were put into a truck with a group of others and taken to a railroad station.
We would never see our parents, our siblings, nor set foot on Polish soil, again. I was greatly relieved that they did not check my jacket or my shoes. My small cache of gold was going with me.
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Like the Christmas story, where Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem to “register” and eventually flee, here’s a powerful lesson. It can happen to you!
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