A Travellerspoint blog

July 1970

My mother's account of her trip to Russia in 1970

The next time we went to Russia I went with Daddy. That was the anatomical meeting in Leningrad. He wanted me to see Moscow.

[They flew to Moscow and then took the train to Leningrad/St. Petersburg. I didn't digitize many of the Moscow photos]

That was the year we went to the Passion Play. We stayed in Oberammegau with the member of the Passion Play who was one of the disciples. Somehow I got a terrible case of diarrhea. They had had heavy rains. Alice Miller had been there ahead of me and the floods had almost rained it out. Everyone was warned not to drink the water. I don't know what I ate but I had the most gosh awful cramps and it grabbed me in the middle of the Passion Play. I didn't think I would be gone that long. We signaled to a Schwester. She took me back underneath and they had little booths underneath the amphitheater. After I got myself cleaned up she took me to the doctor and he gave me a pill and a glass of water. I said, do I drink this water. And he said, of course. I sat there for awhile before I went back to the play. But that night I was up half the night. The next day we had to leave for Moscow. As we got on the plane I saw the headlines that there was a cholera epidemic at the Black Sea. I told Daddy, don't let them take me to the hospital. I managed to make it into Moscow.

My mom's photo of my dad
My dad and the guide who is wearing a bright red dress
My mom standing with the guide

At the hotel, still under construction, the dearest little old man took us up to the room, furnished in the style of Sears Roebuck 1930. He was so proud of it. We have a living room, a bed room, and a bath room. '

My dad reflected in the hotel mirror from the bathroom

He flushed the toilet and looked ecstatic. It was amusing... and pathetic. The first meal that we went to I met the wife of one of the other anatomists. She said, "Mrs. Figge I had always thought that your husband was one of the most intelligent men in the anatomical society. But if this is the second time he has been to Russia I am beginning to doubt it."

Display of Sobotta Atlas of Anatomy - my dad was the American editor - it was published in Germany

We had taken a copy of Sobotta and some magazines through customs to give to the anatomists and never heard a word of thanks and it has probably been plagiarized all through Russia. Our new hotel was on the river and across from the palace which was a museum.

Our guide pointed out that in contrast to this country, the common ordinary people really appreciated and took care of the wonderful things in museums, the things the czars had collected, they appreciated and enjoyed. We saw some marvelous things. But I also saw a beautiful girl on a scaffolding from a plank held with ropes, seven floors up, with her hands red in the wind, and she was putting mortar between bricks.


I decided then they could keep equality to themselves. You'd see old women — they looked old, I'm sure they were not very old laying cobblestones— with some man standing there telling them what to do.


We went to the winter palace on a hydrofoil but we couldn't go in at all.


Posted by greatgrandmaR 00:00 Archived in Russia Comments (6)