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baby pisetskaya

My mother and I cooked delicious food. We often had guests and life was fun. We helped and supported each other. When our relatives' children were getting married we went to their wedding parties.
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We were a big and nice family. My grandfather, grandmother, aunt Ida and aunt Chaya lived in the same building and we saw each other frequently. Besides, all our relatives who lived in Odessa came to celebrate Soviet and Jewish holidays and birthdays with us.
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Shelia and I had many Jewish and Russian friends. We didn't care about nationality: there was no anti-Semitism in Kursk before the war. My sister and I and our friends went to swim in the river, celebrated Soviet holidays and went to parades. There were many gatherings in our apartment. My friends from the orchestra visited me. We sang, danced and had a lot of fun.
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Alexandra Ribush

In general I was always a very sociable person and I had a lot of Russian friends. We celebrated Soviet holidays together. My favorite holiday was New Year's, but not the Jewish New Year, I mean the one common to all mankind.
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Eva Ryzhevskaya

Olga was raised without knowing anything about Jewish traditions, history and religion. Like the rest of the children she was a pioneer and a Komsomol member. We celebrated Soviet holidays such as 1st May, 7th November [October Revolution Day] [47], Soviet Army Day [48], and Victory Day [49]. When our daughter was little we had a family tradition: on 9th May we went to the Grave of the Unknown Soldier and laid down flowers at the monument. In the evening we had a modest dinner, and my husband and I told our daughter about the war, and the way our victory was gained. Olga was raised a patriot.
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Henrich Kurizkes

In 1956 our son Alexander was born. We didn't give our children Jewish names due to the Soviet environment. However, we never failed to observe Jewish traditions. Of course, there was a ban on them in those years, but we couldn't care less. Besides, it wasn't so hard in Estonia. For example, there were official supplies of matzah to Estonia from Riga or Leningrad. In the late 1980s, the Jewish community of Estonia [50] addressed the authorized representative on religion and the Estonian government provided flour for matzah for Pesach from its stocks. Perhaps this is why we have this attitude to the country and believe it to be our motherland.

Even through the most difficult postwar years and until 1990, we always had the Passover seder at home. Our friends visited us and we celebrated our holiday. The children were involved in the celebrations and knew what each holiday was about. They learned Jewish traditions and the history of the Jewish people. It was very natural for them. My son and daughter had many Jewish classmates. My wife and I never felt shy because we were Jews and felt no different from the others and our children knew and understood this.

The original Estonian residents had a different attitude toward Jews than the newcomers. Usually those who had moved to Estonia after it was annexed to the USSR had anti-Semitic attitudes while Estonians thought that since they were persecuted and humiliated in the USSR like the Jews, they believed they were in a similar situation to the Jewish people. They believed us to be equal: Estonians were unhappy and so were Jews, so it was a good idea to support each other. We had many Jewish friends, but we also had Estonian and Russian friends. We didn't care about nationality, we believed human values were more important.

We also celebrated Soviet holidays: 1st May, 7th November [October Revolution Day] [51] and Victory Day [52]. Of course, Victory Day was special for our family. We survived this horrible war and were happy about it. Other Soviet holidays were our days off and we took the opportunity to spend time with our children, have a fancy meal and socialize with friends. My wife and I worked and rarely had time with our children.
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Dina Kuremaa

We didn't mark Soviet holidays. They were just extra days-off for us. The only exception was New Year's Day, when the whole family came to Mother. This family reunion was a tradition. Of course, I had to attend demonstrations with other employees of the theater. It was obligatory in Soviet times. People got together in the morning with the posters and with the flags. We marched in lines along the street and went home after the demonstration. In the event we didn't attend the demonstration, we would be reprimanded or deprived of our bonus.
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Amalia Laufer

Anna Ivankovitser

We continued celebrating the Jewish holidays in our family. We celebrated Pesach according to the tradition. We bought matzah, made stuffed fish and baked cakes. My daughter Polina cooks this traditional food now. My husband came to like these holidays. I have fasted at Yom Kippur since I was 11, and Natan joined me. Polina speaks Yiddish and Hebrew. As for Marina, I don't think she knew any Hebrew before she left. We also celebrated Soviet holidays. We enjoyed cooking a nice dinner for the family and having guests. We didn't care much about the meaning of these holidays.
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anna schwartzman

I didn't celebrate Soviet holidays, perhaps because I didn't have a chance to get accustomed to them in my childhood. What brought me joy was that Soviet holidays were always a day off.
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arkadiy redko

My wife and I didn't celebrate Jewish or Christian holidays. We always celebrated Soviet holidays: 1st May, 7th November [October Revolution Day] [32], Victory Day, Soviet Army Day [33], 8th March [International Women's Day], New Year's. We also celebrated birthdays. Our friends and relatives visited us. On Victory Day we went to the Grave of the Unknown Soldier. Veterans of the war got together there to share their memories. Children brought us flowers. On this day I always recall those who didn't live to see the victory, and of course, my brother Volko is the first whom I recall.
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Basia Gutnik

There were hardly any comforts, and these
were outside, and there were people of all nationalities living
there. But again, we all got along well. We celebrated birthdays
and Soviet holidays together, and neighbors never refused to baby-
sit when we had a chance to go to the cinema or the theater. We
still have few friends in Uzin.
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My paternal grandmother explained to me that when children died
their parents gave a second name to the surviving child so that the
next one wouldn't die. My grandparents were married in Radomyshl,
Ukraine, when about their lives many times, but they wouldn't
tell me anything. In Kiev my grandfather rented a room in Podol and
they lived there until the end of their lives. My grandfather was a
railroad forwarder in Radomyshl. He worked very hard. They married
on 7 January on the Russian Orthodox Christmas, because it was an
official holiday and my grandparents thought it was good to have
their wedding celebration on this date.
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He
got a job assignment as a shift engineer at the KPP[6] and married
a very nice woman named Anian. They led an ordinary life, went to
the cinema and to the theater, and celebrated the Soviet holidays.
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Ada Dal

Our daughter Elena was born in 1964. We lived a very modest life - at that time engineers had lower salaries than workers of the lowest qualifications. In 1966 we received a two-bedroom apartment in the Khrushchovka [20] building. It seemed like paradise to us. We went to the theater and to concerts. We didn't celebrate Soviet holidays. On days off we used to meet with friends, go for walks or to the theater. We went to the Crimea on vacation. My husband's hobby was playing chess. He participated at contests and had degrees and categories and became the 1st Ukraine grandmaster in chess competitions.
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