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    Aleutian World War II

    National Historic Area Alaska

The Lost Villages

 
"When the [N]atives were suddenly evacuated they left many of their goods behind. Their looted houses were almost lost in two seasons' growth of petrusky and the long coarse grasses that were reclaiming the village to the wilderness... Biorka won't be a nice place for my Aleut friends to come home to."
- Visitor to Biorka, 1943 (Nutchuk [Simeon Oliver] 1946
 
At war's end, the U.S. Government did not allow the Unangan displaced from Attu, Biorka, Kashega, and Makushin to resettle in their home villages. For three-and-a-half years, the Attuans had been held prisoners of war by the Japanese...liberated, claimed the Japanese, from American oppression. Only 25 of the 43 Attuans taken prisoner returned from Japan-entire families nearly exterminated by starvation and disease.

The U.S. government had held the villagers from Biorka, Kashega, and Makushin in relocation camps in Southeast Alaska, ostensibly for their safety. But conditions were appalling in the camps, and these villagers too had suffered extreme deprivation, disease, and the death of loved ones. In 2009 and again in 2010, the National Park Service has arranged for boat trips to revisit the Lost Aleutian Villages, allowing surviving Unangan elders to see their birthplaces again and to show them to their children and grandchildren. Russian Orthodox crosses were placed on the sites of the former churches of Biorka, Kashega, and Makushin.

Revisiting Attu, the most remote of the Lost Villages, has so far been elusive because of the difficulty of finding transportation to the village. Instead, in October 2012, the three surviving Attu residents and descendants of the village met for an Attu Reunion in Anchorage.
 
large group of people posing indoors for a photo
Participants pose for a group photograph on the first day of the Attu Reunion. The three surviving Attuans of the Japanese occupation of the island are: front row, second from right: Nick Golodoff; brother Greg Golodoff to left; and George Kudrin, (in white, center) standing in for his wife, Elizabeth Kudrin, the Golodoff’s sister who could not attend. For other photographs of the Attu reunion and images of historic Attu, please visit: http://aleutfamily.com/

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