Ella Perlman and her family

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This photo was taken at my wedding. From left to right: my father Hershe Greenfeld, my sister Joheved Katz, I, my brother Boris Greenfeld, my husband Iosif Perlman, my mama Hana Greenfeld. This photo was taken at home in Riga in 1948.

We were very poor and even starved at times after World War II. My father received a low pension of an invalid and Mama didn’t work. I was the only one to work, but I had no vocation. I got a job at the invalids’ garment shop, making shirts for men and children. This was not the best paid job, but then each kopeck counted. I joined the Komsomol in this shop. I was eager to study. I had finished six grades of the Jewish school before the war. There were no Jewish schools left after the war. They became Russian schools. My Russian was poor. I learned to speak it during evacuation, but I could hardly write in it. So, instead of going to the 7th grade, I had to go to the 5th grade of a Russian evening school. My sister and brother also went to the 5th grade, and so it happened that we were in the same grade, with the only difference being that they went to the daytime school. I liked school. I studied for two years and had to quit school after getting married.

My uncle's friend Iosif liked me. He was the same age as my father, born in 1901, and I thought he was an old man. However, some time passed and my relatives and Iosif's relatives started telling me to marry him. Life after the war was very hard, and I knew it would be less difficult, if I had a husband like him. Of course, I was hoping to have a younger husband with whom I would have more in common, but circumstances forced me to sacrifice my youth and marry Iosif Perlman, who was 25 years older than me.

I didn't regret it. Iosif made a good husband. He cared about me and helped me with everything. He went shopping with me, did not allow me to carry heavy things and stood in lines to buy food. There were always lines in Soviet stores. He was a very kind and caring man. We got married in 1948. We had a chuppah in my uncle's apartment and had a traditional Jewish wedding. We celebrated our wedding and then lived together in the little room in my uncle's apartment.

Interview details

Interviewee: Ella Perlman
Ella Levitskaya
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Riga, Latvia


Ella Perlman
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