This is a beautiful love story. When Yasaburo Hachiya was released from the gulags in the 1950s he was sent to a resettlement camp where he met Siberian Klavdia Novikova. Klavdia was worried about the implications of having a relationship with a foreigner convicted of espionage and moved away to eastern Siberia. Yasha followed her, and soon they wed, having a long and happy marriage. ‘There were no men like my Yasha,’ she boasted. ‘Local women envied me: he did not drink or smoke.’
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union Yasha discovered that his Japanese wife Hisako was still alive and had spent 51 years faithfully waiting for him. Klavdia insisted that he return to Japan, organised a passport and divorced him so that he would qualify for a pension. With mixed feelings he returned to Japan in 1997. He called Klavdia every week and begged her to visit, which she eventually did. The two wives embraced and wept, words were not necessary.
Urszula had a similar experience. Released at the end of her 10 year sentence she met a Japanese man on her journey into eternal exile. She and Kacuya fell in love and lived together in the remote settlement of Dolgiy-Most. Following Stalin’s death Kacuya was given permission to return to Japan and Urszula insisted that he must return to his wife. Urszula was released a year later and made her way to the UK. With the help of the wife of the Japanese Ambassador in London, who she met at a knitting group, Urszula made contact with Kacuya via a newspaper advert. However Urszula’s story did not have such a happy ending. Once they both knew each other was well, Kacuya, or maybe his wife, wanted no more contact.
More details and photos can be seen in The Siberian Times. http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/features/f0010-woman-gulag-prisoner-at-centre-of-deeply-moving-post-war-love-triangle-dies-aged-94/