Rebecca Levina with her friends

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  • Photo taken in:
    Bologoye
    Country name at time of photo:
    USSR
    Country name today:
    Russia

This photo was taken in the 1930s in Bologoye. Here you can see me and my friends Anna Alperovich (she is in the third row), Bertha Finkelshtein and some other active pioneers.

They started school at the age of eight in those times. I studied in the eleventh railways' school. That was a Russian school; there were no Jewish schools in Bologoye.
I liked to study, and studied well. I liked Mathematics as I had very good memory, Russian, Literature, and foreign language - we had German, and I didn't like History and Physics.

But though I didn't like Physics I liked our Physics' teacher very much. At the elementary school I had another favorite teacher, and she predicted my life, she always told my mother,
'She'll be a linguist, she should be a linguist.' It is weird, I had abilities in Math, and I turned to Philology. And my brother was an engineer his whole life.
We had some Jews in our class: Bertha Finkelshtein, and then Anna Alperovich switched to our class too, maybe, some more people;
I can't recall exactly who studied in my class and who didn't. But I wasn't the only Jewish girl for sure.

Together with Anna - my friend - I studied in a theater studio. Apparently, I wanted to be an actress or a teacher,
I played with girls from my very childhood only the 'theater' game, or the 'school' game, and I always wanted to be the teacher.
And I wanted to applyfor the Theater Institute. I played music, but we didn't have a piano at home, that's why I dropped my music studies. I studied with some teacher, not from our school.
So I know notes and even play something. Also I studied drama and sang in the choir of the House of Pioneers.
As a child, I read a lot, but never liked sports.

As school children, we went to Moscow and Leningrad by train. Once we, my brother and I, had to go on our own:
Father was ill, and he stayed in Leningrad together with Mom, while we left because the school year had begun.
Of course, we were both afraid and happy to go on our own. Afraid because we were little children and the railway seemed to be something dangerous
and happy to travel without adults, without our parents. But nothing happened, fortunately, we came to Bologoye without any adventures.

I liked to dance very much. We had dancing lessons at school, in the eighth grade. In summer girls went for dances in the park.
Also we organized school parties at someone's house. There were girls who lived in large apartments, their parents let them invite guests, and we danced and celebrated the holidays.
And I remember that once we danced till four or even five o'clock in the morning, and when I was going back home, I met my mother, who was trying to find me.
She walked in the street, and I suppose that she decided to come to this party and take me home.
So I was lucky that I remembered what time it was and walked home myself. We met just half-way.

We studied on Saturdays, and had a day-off on Sundays only. I've been to pioneers' camps twice or three times, alone, without my brother.
I liked it there. Mainly we played sports games there and participated in sports competitions, we swam, jumped and ran. In the evenings we sang songs, made a fire and told stories.
We organized evenings of amateur talent activities too. And later I was an active Komsomol member.

In Bologoye we always went to demonstrations. The demonstrations were organized on the days of important Soviet holidays, like 1st May or the Day of the October Revolution.
The May demonstration was especially pleasant because usually the spring came, the weather was nice, it was sunny, and everyone was cheerful.
We sang pioneer and revolutionary songs, carried flags and were very happy. Also we participated in the sports parade: putting on such funny shorts, and T-shirts, and built various pyramids.
Those were good holidays.

Interview details

Interviewee: Rebecca Levina
Interviewer:
Nika Parhomovskaya
Month of interview:
November
Year of interview:
2003
St. Petersburg, Russia

KEY PERSON

Rebecca Levina
Year of birth:
1923
City of birth:
Bologoye
Country name at time of birth:
USSR
Occupation
after WW II:
Teacher/Professor
Family names
  • Previous family name: 
    Alpert
    Year of changing: 
    1949
    Reason for changing: 
    Marriage
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