Author who survived Stalin and the Nazis to speak at ISU

Unveiling the Shalom Monument Vladimir Rott built on Lake Baikal, Russia, at the Jewish Cemetery. (Photo courtesy of ISU)

Vladimir Rott survived the Stalinist persecutions in the Soviet Union, and the Nazi invasion during World War II.

His incredible life’s journey will be the subject of the talk “Surviving Repression:  A Personal Account of Life under Stalinism and Nazi Occupation” at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, in the University Galleries.


The event, which is part of the Illinois State University Speaker Series, is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Illinois State University’s Department of History, the European Studies program, the Chabad Jewish student group, the Harold K. Sage Fund, and the Illinois State University Foundation.

As the Rott family were Jewish Hungarian immigrants in the Soviet Union, Rott’s father was labeled an “enemy of the state” and imprisoned under the regime of Joseph Stalin. They faced double persecution under the Nazi invasion and narrowly escaped extermination.

In 1974, he defected from the Soviet Union while visiting extended family in Canada. He still resides with his family in Toronto, writing books, traveling the world, and building monuments to preserve ancestral memories in Hungary and Siberia.

Rott has recounted the tales of his family in the books “Father’s Letters from Siberian Prison”, “Mysovaya Station”, “In Defiance of Fate: Book 1–Joy from Sadness”, and “In Defiance of Fate: Book 2–Joy of Discovery.”