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elvira kohn

In Vinkovci, I completed the public elementary school, four grades of public high school and after that I learned photography in a private photographer's shop called Seiler. In this photo studio, I learned the trade and became a qualified photographer. I was very much interested in photography and I learned to love this art form very much.

At the beginning, of course, I only worked in the photo studio but with time I became less interested in taking static pictures and telling people to turn left, right, smile, and so on. After I learned the profession and gained experience. I wanted to become a photo-reporter. I wanted to work outside the studio, take photographs of events and people.

Many traders and photographers came to the Seiler photo studio where I worked, and once one of them asked me if I would be interested in working in a photo studio in Dubrovnik. He said that they needed someone with my qualifications and that I could work as a photo-reporter.

I left for Dubrovnik in 1932. At first I lived alone but later I found a bigger apartment and settled in, and my mother came from Vinkovci to live with me. In Dubrovnik my mother didn't work. She wasn't employed anywhere. She took care of our house and of me. Apart from my work, I didn't have to take care of anything because my mother was there.

I worked in a photo shop called Jadran, which was on the corner of Zudioska Street where the synagogue in Dubrovnik was and still is today. The owners weren't Jewish. The name of the owner was Miho Ercegovic, and his son was called Velimir Ercegovic. Within the shop, there were three sections: a book store, a stationary and a photo studio.

I worked in the photo studio. My main duties were to take photos of various daily events that were taking place in Dubrovnik and its surroundings: cultural happenings, political events, events related to the church, such as mass, baptism, or other church-related events.

Sometimes people asked me to take photos of their children at birthday parties, or when a child was born. I always liked taking photos of children. Sometimes I took photos for newspapers and journalists wrote a story related to the photo. I never wrote for newspapers, I only took photos.
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I attended public school, the regular elementary and high school in Vinkovci. There was no Jewish school. There were pupils of all kinds of religions and nationalities in this school and my friends were Jews and non- Jews alike. In my class in particular, there were 30 pupils, of which 13 were Jews, around 10 Eastern Orthodox because there were many Serb villages around Vinkovci, and the rest were Catholics and maybe some Evangelic.

Although there was no Jewish school, there was Jewish religious instruction, which was obligatory. Every Sunday we had religious classes and received grades; it was part of the school curriculum. We had a religious instructor whose name was Pollak. He taught us Hebrew, the Talmud, the Torah, some Jewish history and traditions.

On Saturdays we didn't have to attend classes in school, but we had to go to the synagogue. We also had to obtain a written statement signed by Rabbi Frankfurter saying that we were at the service on Saturday morning, and we had to bring this statement to school. It was like a confirmation that we were in the synagogue instead of being in class.
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baby pisetskaya

Shortly afterward his regiment relocated to Vyshniy Volochek. There he finished a school of sergeants and was sent to the town of Karakalpakiya in Uzbekistan. His wife Ida stayed with her parents in Odessa. She gave birth to a son in 1968. He was named Viacheslav. I got along well with her and my grandson. After the army Vladimir was a production engineer at the plant of radial drilling units.
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After finishing the 8th grade in 1962 he went to work at the Poligraphmach plant. He finished an evening secondary school and entered a machine tool manufacture college.
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My son Vladimir lived with my parents. They loved him dearly and created all conditions for his studies. He studied well at school and had many friends of various nationalities. He didn't face any anti-Semitism at school.
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My sister Shelia finished a course of post office employees after the war. Then she took a course of advanced training in Kishinev.
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He finished a flying school and went to the front. He was wounded in 1943 and sent to hospital in Kursk where I met him.
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I passed my exams for the first year of studies at college and became a 2nd-year student at the Faculty of Aircraft Building. I attended classes and in the evening my fellow students and I unloaded bread.
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To refresh my knowledge of school subjects I went to the 10th grade at the local school for the second time. My sister Shelia also went to the local school. There was a frontier military unit near the village where we stayed and they began to invite me to give concerts to the military. The military helped me to find out via the evacuation agency in Buguruslan that my college was evacuated to Tashkent.
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I finished school with honors in 1941. On 21st June 1941 we had a prom. According to school traditions we went for a walk in the woods after the prom.
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In 1940 I was awarded a trip to Sochi on the Black Sea for my successful studies. I went with Abdulla Yusupov, a Tatar boy from another school. This was an unforgettable tour: we went mountaineering and bathed in the sea. We had bus tours to the towns of Adler and Chosta. We went to places of interest and took a drive on the funicular.
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My sister and I studied in a secondary school. My sister studied French and I studied German at school. We also passed our tests for GTO [ready for labor and defense] and 'Voroshylov [17] rifle shooter' badges. I attended an artistic embroidery club and wrote poems. I was a pioneer and attended a club in the House of Pioneers. I sang with a string orchestra. I liked singing and got invitations to sing on the radio and in concerts. Our string orchestra gave concerts at kolkhozes and factories. I sang songs from the repertory of Claudia Shulzhenko.
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I went to a Ukrainian school in the center of town in 1930 at the age of six. I became a Young Octobrist [13] at this school.
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