Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, which launched the beginning of one of the most brutal regimes in human history. Beginning with Vladimir Lenin and continuing with Joseph Stalin and beyond, tens of millions of people were killed as a result of political purges, man-made “famines,” slave labor camps, and more. Despite these appalling facts, most of the students in your classroom are probably largely ignorant of the horrors of communism.
One very effective way to illustrate the brutality of the Soviet Union for your students is to have them read The Persecutor by Sergei Kourdakov. This powerful autobiography was written by a KGB agent whose job was to hunt down and kill “Believers” – the government’s name for Christians. It details his life growing up in Russia: being orphaned at a young age; practically raising himself as he bounced from the streets to group homes and back to the streets; and eventually finding a “family” in the Communist party. I don’t want to give away too much here, so I’ll leave it at that.
Not surprisingly, The Persecutor is incredibly brutal and sometimes contains graphic violence. You would definitely want to preview it to ensure it is age appropriate for your class. However, I can almost guarantee that you and your students will be forever impacted by Sergei’s story. I was introduced to it by my then 14 year old daughter, who read it as part of her English curriculum. She has a much deeper understanding of totalitarianism and the importance of freedom than do most kids her age, and much of that stems from this book.
Colleen Hroncich loves that homeschooling allows her to learn right alongside her children. A published author and former policy analyst, Colleen’s favorite subjects are economics/public policy and history. She has been active in several homeschool co-ops and is a speech and debate coach.