Faina Volper with her father Lipe Volper and mother Rachel Volper

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From left to right: I, Faina Volper, my father Lipe Volper, my mother Rachel Volper, nee Makovetskaya. Photo made in Nikopol in 1945 after we returned from evacuation.

After finishing school in 1944 I entered the Medical Institute that was in evacuation in Cheliabinsk. I was fond of chemistry at school, but I couldn't find an Institute where I could study it.

End of the war in may 1945 was a big holidays for the people. There was much joy in the streets with everybody kissing and hugging. We looked forward to going home in our warm Ukraine from Cheliabinsk. In 1945 our parents decided to go to Nikopol where my mother's older brother Moshe and his family lived. We didn't know what happened to our house or where we would find accommodation. My parents were hoping that my sister would divorce her Russian husband and we would be able to come back to Starokonstantinov. My mother was looking forward to seeing her brother who she hadn't seen for almost 20 years. But Moshe had been shot in his truck before we arrived. It happened in 1945 after the war, so his murderer might have been an anti-Semite or something.

We were staying with Moshe's family. My sister arrived later with her husband Cyril Shyrokov and their one-year-old son Boris. She was pregnant again. It was a blow for my father. He was hoping that my sister would divorce her husband, but the situation changed with her second pregnancy. My sister gave birth to a girl. Her husband gradually became a member of our family. Even my father took to liking him in the course of time. My father wasn't working and Cyril couldn't find a job. We were selling dough shawls at the market. We purchased them from wholesalers. Moshe's widow and her daughter supported us, but they were also poor. My father decided that he and I would go to Starokonstantinov the rest of the family would join us later. My father was homesick and we had to prepare the house for my mother and my sister with her baby. We arrived in autumn 1946. There were two other families living in our apartment, but they gave us one room.

In few months my sister and her husband moved to Astrakhan because people said it was easier to find a job there and my mother came home to us. My sister's husband found a job, they received a room in the hostel and lived there until 1949. My father was severely ill and needed to be looked after. My mother couldn't work and we didn't have money to live. So, I went to work at a bank. I was an apprentice there for a week and then I began to work as an accountant. I worked there a year and then I met my future husband.

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Faina Volper

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