Millions of Soviet citizens were sent to vast network of prison camps under Stalin. Now their descendants seek recompense

Alisa Meissner is paying to this day for the Soviet Union’s decision to exile her whole family from Moscow for their German heritage.

She still lives in a town just 30 miles from the gulag village where her family were sent in the 1940s after the outbreak of the second world war. And despite the rehabilitation of her exiled family, the denunciation of Joseph Stalin and the collapse of the Soviet Union, she has never been able to leave.

Related: ‘I longed for the moment you would write’: the gulag penpals whose love lasted 60 years

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