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baby pisetskaya

When the Great Patriotic War began Luba and her family evacuated to the village of Antonovka, Sarkansk district in Kazakhstan. Luba's mother-in-law died on the way to evacuation.
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At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War Isaac went to the front and perished.
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During the Great Patriotic War they were all evacuated to Tashkent [today Uzbekistan]. Uncle Yakov was released from military service since the thumb of his right hand was deformed.
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Rafael Genis

Thus, we traveled for two or three days. We reached Gorky oblast and got off at the station Bogoyavleniye [about 700 km from Moscow]. There were carts there and we were taken to a kolkhoz [9]. At first I was assigned to a tractor brigade. There I got milk and bread. It was my first meal. There was no place for me to live, so I went around the village looking for shelter. I was housed by a smith, Mikheyev. He lived with a daughter who had recently given birth to a baby. His brother-in-law was in the lines and the smith decided that I would help them about the house. I was still barefoot and Mikheyev gave me straw shoes.
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We were going towards the Russian border. We were stopped by Lithuanians in Mazeikiai [town in North-West Lithuania, close to the Latvian border]. They had already taken the German side and they were not willing to let us through. Our activists had weapons, they shot a couple of times and the Lithuanians ran away. There was a covering force of Russian Army soldiers [8]. They didn't let any single civilian car, a cart or a pedestrian pass. There were a lot of people. At that time a low-flying German plane started firing at people a couple of times. Many weren't moving. Our car was crushed. The passengers scattered. My sandals were torn so I went barefoot. My feet still remember the hot July asphalt. At that time a military column was passing the border, and I got under the tarpaulin of one of their trucks and went with them. We reached Pskov [town in Western Russia, close to the Latvian border]. I was afraid that they would find me, so I jumped off the truck and sat on the curb.
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There was one truck in our unit. I drove it - I had recently learnt to drive. I drove three members of the party, the commanders. I remembered one of them: Vaikus. In general, I was lucky to be able to drive and was ordered to take the Communists. There was no gas and I could not fill the car up. We went to the district town Telsiai. I was worried about my relatives, but I had neither a chance nor time to go to Rietavas. People weren't permitted to go there any more. Rietavas was closer to the border and the Germans had already occupied my town, besides my passengers were getting nervous and made me hurry. We arrived in Telsiai. I saw a large truck by the building of the district administration, where the leaders of the district, party members were sitting. My passengers joined them. I didn't think long and also jumped in the truck and we headed off.
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My birthday was on 21st June 1941. It was Saturday and my pals from the military unit wanted me to celebrate it with them, so I didn't go home. My pals and the head of the cart fleet Shalin celebrated with me. We drank a bottle of vodka and went dancing to the club. We stayed there until midnight. I went home and fell asleep straight away. At 6am I was awoken by Shalin: 'Get up, the war has started!' I should say that I wasn't surprised. We understood in the military unit that the war was inevitable. There was talk about it. We said that we wouldn't give up a single piece of our land. Shalin sent me over to the garage and ordered us to dismantle the cars for the Fascists not to take them. There were a lot of them and it took us a long time. We dug a huge pit and covered the cars with timber waste as the saw mill was nearby. By that time the town, where the military unit was located, was almost vacated. Some people ran away, others were hiding.
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Alexandra Ribush

In 1941 the war began [see Great Patriotic War] [9]. Leningrad was besieged in September by the Germans [see Blockade of Leningrad] [10]. The Klouberman family, with whom my brother lived, left Velikiye Luki for Zlatoust in the Urals. Grandma and Aunt Lyuba left for the same place. No one chose his place of evacuation. People simply went where the train took them. In 1942, during the blockade, Isaac Solomonovich's family was taken away into evacuation. There were six of us: Uncle Isaac, his wife Vera, their children Lyonya and Inna, Vera's mother and myself.

Aunt Vera worked at the 1st Medical Institute, which was evacuated to Kislovodsk. Unexpectedly we got into German occupation there.
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Margarita Kamiyenovskaya

22nd June 1941 was a Sunday. It was an ordinary weekend morning, when people could stay longer in bed and then start the day. At noon Molotov's [25] speech was broadcast on the radio, where he announced that fascists had attacked [the USSR] without declaring war and he added, 'Our cause is just and we will win.'

Soon the Germans started air raids. Trains heading for the rear of Russia departed from Tallinn railway station. Authorized employees of Estonia were evacuated and my father was among them as he was a doctor. Thus, our family had no choice but to leave. My father tried convincing three of his sisters to get evacuated with him, but they flatly refused. They thought that three elderly political ladies, fluent in German, had nothing to fear. If the Soviet regime didn't exile them, the Germans would do no harm to them. People say that they were murdered by the Germans in 1941, but I think they were merely killed by Estonians. It might have happened before the Germans' arrival. There were cases like that.
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Eva Ryzhevskaya

On 22nd June 1941 [the beginning of the Great Patriotic War] [25] Molotov [26] made the announcement on the radio that Germany had attacked the USSR without having declared war. It happened on Sunday. The next day we were told about demobilization at our courses.
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Arnold Fabrikant

On 18th June 1941 we had a prom at school, and on 22nd June I was supposed to go to Kiev to enter a college. There were disputes in the family: I wanted to study script writing since I had liked writing in my childhood, and attended a literature club in the House of Pioneers [also see All-Union pioneer organization] [13], while my parents thought this was no good and wanted me to become an engineer. They chose Kiev Aviation College for me. My train was to depart in the evening, but my father called at 6 in the morning. We were the only family with a telephone: there were only few telephones at that time. All my father said was: 'Don't send Nolia [affectionate for Arnold] away. I cannot tell you why. Let him give back his ticket and stay at home.' At 10 o'clock in the morning I went to return my ticket to the railroad cashier box on Karl Marx Street. When I left, I saw a crowd gathering around a street radio. I stopped and listened to Molotov's [14] speech about the beginning of the Great Patriotic War.
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Isroel Lempertas

We moved on in about ten days. We took a train, which was supposed to evacuate some plant. Couple of empty platforms were attached to the trains so that the fugitives could get on them. There was barely any room. The train started. We had been on the road for no less than 3 weeks. Before we got on the train, father got some [food] products in exchange for some things. At the evacuation point we were given dry ration- rusks. At first, we did not starve. When the products were over, we felt famished. During stops father and elder brother got off to look for food. Sometimes we got some food from the local people by exchanging them with what they had and at times they managed to get a pot of soup given to the evacuees at the stations. The road was being constantly bombed and the train made frequent stops. Then evacuees scattered in different directions hiding in some natural shelters. I saw a lot of deaths, but it was impossible to get used to it.
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Our lyceum was declared a secondary school and the 7th grade of lyceum was the 9th grade at school. Other than that things were the same. I entered Komsomol organization [15]. I was rather active- conducted meetings, called upon people to support soviet regime, drew wall posters. One year with the Soviets went by very quickly. On the 21st of June 1941 we had school- leavers party at school. I came home late and did not stay in bed for a long time. Early in the morning we heard the roaring of the planes. The town was bombed. The Great Patriotic War was unleashed. People were panicking, trying to escape, abandoning their houses. Some Jews thought that Germans would do them no harm and decided to stay. Our family did not have a dilemma- to stay or not to stay. By the evening of the Sunday, 22nd of June we left the town on foot. There were four of us - the families of aunt Shifra and mother's younger sister Rahil. People were fleeing. There were crowds of fugitives on the road with suitcases, rucksacks and bales. The road was bombed and I saw death for the first time. Not all people got up after the bombing was over. Retreating units of the Soviet Army walked along with us. We had walked for couple of days until we reached Latvian border and stayed for couple of days at some train station in Latvia waiting for a train. We had a problem with food. We did not take much with us and we ran out of food pretty soon. Father and uncle Aba Metz exchanged our things with products and our family managed to get by couple of days. Then we managed to get on the train heading to Riga. Upon our arrival we were placed at some school, where evacuation point was organized. We slept in a large hall on the floor. In the afternoon all evacuees were given some soup or porridge and bread. The situation was rather unusual mildly to say. By 1940 we had lived in bourgeois Lithuania and were used to relative comfort. We decided to stick together as it was easier to overcome trouble with the support of kin, which was really precious under those circumstances. In a day or two Jacob Rier, husband of aunt Rahil insisted that we should stop by in Sauspils and take a rest in the place of his relatives and wait for the stir to end. He was not used to the complications and aunt Rahil obeyed her husband. We said goodbye to her and their little Rozochka. At that time we did not know that we would never see them again.
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There were 5 daughters, including my mother born in 1897. The eldest sister, who was couple of years older than my mother, had a double name Rosa and Shifra. She was called Shifra in our family. Her husband Aba Mets did not have a permanent job. He got by odd jobs. Shifra and Aba had two sons- Rafael, 4 years older than me and Nahman, who was my age. When the Great Patriotic War [2] was unleashed, we fled with the family of aunt Shifra. Her husband Aba was in the labor front first [3]. He worked at some military plant in Siberia. Then he was drafted in the army and served in Lithuanian division #16 [the battalion is called Lithuanian because it was formed mostly from the former Lithuanian citizens, who were volunteers, evacuated or serving in the labor front]formed in 1943. Aba was killed in action in 1943 shortly after he had been drafted. He was not a young man at that time. Shifra and the boy came back to Lithuania and settled in Vilnius. About 20 years ago, she and her children left for Israel. Shifra had lived a long life and died in early 1990s. Her sons are doing well in Israel now.
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