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"Mein Teil ist, ganz in Asche aufzugehen": Johann Peter Sinner (Petr Ivanovic Zinner, 1879--1935) russlanddeutscher Autor und Stalinopfer. Sein Werk und Schicksal

Samuel Dean Sinner, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The dissertation is a biography of Russian professor, poet, and Stalin victim Johann Peter Sinner (Petr Ivanovič Zinner). Sinner was an ethnic German born 1879 in the Volga village Schilling (Sosnovka). He taught history, German linguistics and literature, and economics at the Tenishev School (where Russian authors Osip Mandelstam and Vladimir Nabakov studied) and the University of Saratov and St. Petersburg/Leningrad. Besides scientific publications, he authored poems and short stories, which were often critical of the Soviet regime, and which resulted in repeated arrests between 1923 and 1935. ^ Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the history and literature of the ethnic Germans in Russia, a brief outline of Sinner's life listing several colleagues and friends (Vladimir Korolenko, Viktor Zhirmunskij, Maksim Gorki, Boris Pilnyak, etc.), and an overview of publications about Sinner published in Russia, Germany, and North and South America from the 1920s to the present. ^ Chapters 2–5 present Sinner's biography based on his publications, memoirs, archival evidence, and oral traditions. These chapters analyze his contact with illegal Social Revolutionary circles in Saratov during the 1890s, his participation in the early women's movement, his attempts to stop Jewish pogroms in Ukraine, his interest in pedagogical reform for ethnic minorities, etc. In the Soviet period, he fears his own ethnic group is doomed to extinction as a result of assimilation, the regime's mass executions, and other forms of terror. In the 1920s he is publicly defamed as a counterrevolutionary. After a 1930 arrest and sentencing for counterrevolutionary activities and espionage, he dies in the Gulag in 1935. ^ Chapters 6 and 7 interpret several of Sinner's short stories and poems, which express fears of his impending death and that of his ethnic group. Examples of his translations of works by Vasyl' Stefanik, Shevchenko, and Nekrasov are presented. Parallels to Sinner's poems in the works of Shevchenko, Pilnyak, Mandelstam, and J. R. R. Tolkien are also explored. ^

Subject Area

Biography|Literature, Germanic|Literature, Slavic and East European|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

Sinner, Samuel Dean, ""Mein Teil ist, ganz in Asche aufzugehen": Johann Peter Sinner (Petr Ivanovic Zinner, 1879--1935) russlanddeutscher Autor und Stalinopfer. Sein Werk und Schicksal" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3055289.