Laser, Artur, 1925-

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Laser, Artur, 1925-

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Artur Laser was born on 13 February 1925 in the village of Sorotschin, Shitomir, Ukraine (Volynia). His family settled in the village of Tiegerweide in the Mennonite Molotschna settlement in 1933, where he attended the first 4 years of his elementary schooling, followed by classes in Rueckenau for Grades 5, 6 and 7. By age 15 in 1940 he worked as a full labourer in the local collective farm. From 1941-1946 he worked in a concentration camp at Solikamsk, first as a labourer, then a locksmith, and finally as a repair locksmith, once the entire armament manufacturing was in full operation. After 1945 a paper mill was also built at Solikamsk where he worked as a repair locksmith for 18 years. He married Helen Lieder on 3 August 1948. They lived in the city of Solikamsk-Borowsk from 1948-1964, and then moved to Ergana, Usbekistan.

After Joseph Stalin's death in 1953, Artur Laser started actively identifying with the German Baptist and Mennonite Christians who often met privately in homes. He was baptized in 1955 by a Jacob Goerzen and continued to identify with the Baptist congregation, both during a period of the church being unregistered and during a time of being registered with the Soviet authorities.

During the Second World War, he and his father lost contact with his mother and siblings. In 1956 Artur heard that his mother and siblings had survived the war and were living in Winnipeg, Canada. Artur and his wife joine them when they emigrated from the USSR in 1973. Artur became a Canadian citizen in 1978.

Artur Laser worked for Monarch Industry in Winnipeg for a short period in 1973-74, and then at Washtronics. He retired in 1990 at the age of 65, and spent significant time in the subsequent years writing his memoirs.

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