Author, Former Gulag Prisoner. Born John Helmuth Noble in Detroit, Michigan, he was the son of Charles Noble, owner of a photo-finishing company. Due to his father's ill health from years of exposure to photographic chemicals, the family moved to Dresden, Germany. Charles Noble took ownership of Kamera-Werkstaetten Guthe & Thorsch, a camera factory that in 1939 became a major manufacturer of the Praktica, a 35 millimeter single-lens reflex camera. Because the newly developed camera was successful and popular, the Germans allowed the company to operate throughout World War II, but restricted the Noble family to Dresden. The family witnessed the carpet-bombing of Dresden by the RAF in 1945 and soon afterward the Red Army took control of the city. Later Noble would recall, "The Soviets in Dresden were worse that the air raids" because of the widespread looting, murders and rapes. The camera factory had remained unscathed from the bombing and the Soviets, at first, allowed the Nobles to continue running it. But it wasn't long before the Soviet authorities took over the business and arrested Charles and John Noble as spies. Charles Noble remained imprisoned until 1952 and upon his release returned to Detroit where he died. John Noble remained in custody for the next several years in prisons in Dresden, Muhlberg and Buchenwald. When Buchenwald prison closed, he was sentenced to 15 more years and transferred into the Soviet gulag system. His last location of internment was at the Siberian camp of Vorkuta where prisoners worked in the coal mines. Noble took part in the Vortuka uprising in 1953 when prisoners went on strike demanding better camp conditions. After several weeks the Soviets violently suppressed the uprising and conditions were never improved. In 1954 he managed to smuggle a cryptic message to his family out of camp. The news of his incarceration reached the attention of the State Department and, with the intervention of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he and other American military captives were released in January of 1955. Noble wrote two books on his experiences, "I Found God in Soviet Russia" with Glenn D. Everett (1959) and "I Was a Slave in Russia" (1961). John H. Noble died of a heart attack in Dresden, Germany at the age of 84.
He is buried at the Weisser Hirsch cemetery in Dresden, Germany (bio by: Nan)