• Image of four aviators at leisure, playing cribbage

    Aleutian World War II

    National Historic Area Alaska

Nicholai Lekanoff

As part of the "Beginning of Memory Project," Ray Hudson conducted interviews with Aleuts who were forced to evacuate from their homes during World War II. Many of the evacuees from the Aleutians faced years away from their childhood homes, sometimes in deplorable camps. Many communities - the "Lost Villages" - were never resettled.

Nicholai S. Lekanoff was born in Makushin in 1925 and in 1937 moved with his family to Unalaska. He served as an alter boy in Unalaska Village and continued service to the Church of the Holy Ascension throughout his life. After WWII he married Pauline Kudrin of Kashega.

Download a full transcript of Nicholai's interview.

Did You Know?

A PBY plane surrounded by crew

A PBY plane piloted by Lt. Jean Cusick was sent from Dutch Harbor, on June 3, 1942, to locate Japanese forces in the Pacific. He was shot down by enemy fighters en route. Five men out of the seven-man crew survived the crash and got into life rafts. Cusick and his enlisted pilot died on the rafts from their wounds. The other three were captured by the Japanese, and became the first prisoners of war in the Aleutian Campaign.