Hostage's Daughter `Nearly Jumped Out Of Her Skin' Hearing Of Release

https://archive.seattletimes.com/archive/?date=19901210&slug=1108756

Dec 10, 1990

Tomas Guillen

Natalia Makanju could not contain her excitement when her mother appeared on the television she was watching at a downtown Seattle condominium.

``She nearly jumped out of her skin,'' said Ann Huey of Seattle. Natalia came to stay with Huey as a result of the Persian Gulf crisis.

Natalia watched as her mother, Nina Ginn, arrived at the Baghdad airport last week in hopes of visiting her husband, Ron Ginn, an American hostage in Iraq.

Then with the release of hostages over the weekend, the media began carrying photographs of Nina and Ron together as they prepared to leave Iraq.

Natalia was so excited she took a newspaper photograph of her parents to class at McClure Middle School on Queen Anne today to share it with classmates.

Huey explained that her relationship with the Ginns goes back to the late 1970s, when all worked as computer programmers for Shell Petroleum in Nigeria.

Ron Ginn, a native of Alabama, ``has been oversees so many years that he doesn't have a home,'' Huey said today. Nina Ginn was born in the Soviet Union. Her father was a member of the Communist Party and colonel in the Soviet army.

After the trio's stint in Nigeria, Ron Ginn ended up in Phoenix, Ariz.; Nina went home to Leningrad; and Ann Huey returned to Seattle.

In the mid-1980s, Nina and her then-husband divorced and she and her two daughters - Anna, now 14, and Natalia, now 12, traveled to Phoenix, where Nina and Ron married.

Soon after, the family moved to Kuwait, where Ron Ginn worked for Kuwait's social-security system. Nina worked for a software company in Kuwait while the two girls attended an American school in Kuwait.

On the day Iraq invaded Kuwait, the girls flew out of the country to visit grandparents in Leningrad.

Huey explained that Ron Ginn did not know of the invasion until he arrived at work that morning. Nina heard the bombing and knew ``something dreadful was going on'' but did not miss her dentist appointment because to do so would require her to pay $20.

According to Huey, the ``American dentist was crying'' as he worked on Nina's teeth.

In the days that followed, the Ginns argued over whether Nina should try to leave the country with an old Soviet passport. She wanted to stay, but her husband argued that couples would be separated anyway if captured by the Iraq officials, Huey said.

Before separating, the couple agreed that Nina should travel to Seattle to stay with Ann Huey.

The Soviet Embassy agreed to allow Nina to flee with Soviet citizens through Baghdad.

Nina did get out, but not before the woman searching her at the airport took all her jewelry. Huey said Nina did not mind her jewelry being taken because that diverted the woman's attention from Nina's American passport, which Nina refused to discard and hid in the lining of a coat.

Ron hid in Kuwait City with several others, including Miles Hoffman of Columbus, Ga., who on Sept. 5 was shot in the arm by Iraqi forces in Kuwait. Hoffman was one of three Americans released last month.

On Sept. 19, Nina and Natalia flew from Leningrad to Seattle, where they lived with Huey until recently.

The family did not know much about Ron's fate until last month, when he phoned late one night. He subsequently was allowed to call each night.

``That was very exciting,'' said Huey. ``The phone rings and there's this Arab voice. `Hello Mrs. Ginn.' I screamed: `Nina, answer the phone.'

``Ron was staying 30 kilometers south of Baghdad at a communications site as a human shield. He and Nina would talk until somebody, somewhere would press a button. All of a sudden the line would go dead.''

Huey said the Ginns called from Frankfurt, Germany, last night. The two may stop in Alabama, said Huey, before they head for Seattle for Christmas.

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"Nina Ginn was born in the Soviet Union. Her father was a member of the Communist Party and colonel in the Soviet army."

Anna Makanju mother's name is Nina Ginn.

Anna Makanju Grandfather was was a member of the Communist Party and colonel in the Soviet army