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Alexandra Ribush

My brother was born on 7th November 1933, October Revolution Day [7]. He was named after V.I. Lenin, since our parents were Bolsheviks. My father was a member of the Communist Party, and he was a very sincere and convinced communist. My mother wasn't a party member, but she adhered to the same views. All official newspapers and other party publications were read in our family.
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In 1921 his son Abram took him away to England. Grandpa and Abram had problems with the Bolshevist power: they were against the Bolsheviks so they had to escape abroad to avoid a possible massacre.
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Grandpa's elder son Lazar died in 1924, before I was born, but I was on friendly terms with his wife Tsilya. She died a long time ago and her daughters Malvina and Sarah remain my closest relatives. When Malvina was born in 1919, the Civil War [5] was at its height and it wasn't possible to send telegrams. It was only allowed to send telegrams that informed someone about someone's arrival. So the relatives received the following telegram about her birth: 'Malvina Lazarevna arrived successfully'.
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Arnold Leinweber

It was only in my adolescence that I started to inquire about my father’s activities, so that I could determine what kind of person he had been – after all, this man had joined a revolution in his twenties. He was engaged in a conspiratorial activity, securing the liaison between the Romanian revolutionary committees in Kiev and Odessa, in the Soviet Union. He carried orders from all over the country on what delegates were to be chosen for the coming convention that was held in Bucharest, during which the Socialist Party moved from the 2nd International to the 3rd International. [Ed. note: On 11th May 1921, the Socialist Party Convention decided the transformation of the party into the Romanian Communist Party and its affiliation with the Communist International. The following day, the delegates who had voted without reserve in favor of the affiliation, which implied the subordination to the Comintern and to Russia, were arrested by order of the Government.] This and other conspiratorial activities led to that huge trial in Dealul Spirii. [Ed. note: ‘The trial of Dealul Spirii’ was held between 23rd January and 4th June 1922. The delegates of the 1921 convention and other communist militants were prosecuted. A great number of politicians and intellectuals made statements or wrote in favor of the Communists. On 4th June 1922, King Ferdinand I issued an amnesty decree based on which 213 out of the 271 people who had been arrested were freed.] My father’s and mother’s relatives were placed under surveillance – they were given a very hard time. My mother herself was dragged to the Siguranta [3]. At that time, the printing press of the [Communist] Party [4] was removed from a former textile factory one day before the place was raided. Still, they found some typographical letters on the floor, and they took my mother to the scene of the crime. She was breastfeeding me back then and she almost caused me to get ill.

They caught my father in the North Railroad Station and found his pistol. The serial number proved that the gun came from a firearms depot in Ramnicu Valcea – which is why a gunnery warrant officer committed suicide. I know these things from the newspapers I read in those days. The records from the Forensic Institute show that my father was deposed there without official papers. There was no official report signed by a district attorney and he died with his lungs congested. They beat him to death. He did his duty; he didn’t give away anyone or anything. They set up a suicide for him and took his dead body to my uncle’s, Georges Gherman, who was their informant. All the people in his field bought the story. I noticed something was wrong with the records from the Siguranta. [Mr. Leinweber conducted his research in the 1970’s.] The file contained a leaflet launched by the Bessarabian Communists, who didn’t accept the idea that my father had committed suicide. It read ‘Assassination of the famous Misa, the comrade who…’ This is how I found out about his conspiratorial name. When I appealed to the Central Committee [of the Romanian Communist Party], they wouldn’t find the time to have a forensic examiner and a law enforcement officer review my file, because all the data led to assassination. At the [Communist Party] Convention, out of the thousands of letters sent to Ceausescu [5], the Politburo picked four. They summoned me to tell me ‘It was suicide, Comrade!’ I felt like replying ‘Suicide my foot!’ The trial of Dealul Spirii ended without any convictions, because this would have probably made the acceptance of the Great Romania [6] by the Great Powers more difficult.
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He quit both his workshop and my mother who was pregnant and set off to join the Russian revolution. I don’t recall ever meeting him. He only saw me once. He died in April 1921 and my mother remarried.
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Eva Ryzhevskaya

In 1917 the revolution broke out in Russia [see Russian Revolution of 1917] [6]. My parents were rejoicing on that occasion. Before the revolution Jews had very restricted rights. There was a pale of settlement. Jews weren't permitted to live anywhere they wanted; besides there was a quota of admission to institutions of higher education. My parents were poor, so they didn't lose anything when the Soviet regime was established. There was nothing to sequestrate from them. My parents were happy that their children would be able to study and do what appealed to them.
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Arnold Fabrikant

His sister, Yekaterina Yampolskaya, was a revolutionary: in 1918 she worked in Lenin's secretarial office; she knew him personally. She was married to the chief editor of the Pravda newspaper [The paper of the Communist Party of the USSR]. She was arrested in 1937 as the wife of an 'enemy of the people' [19]. She was kept in camps for 20 years, released in 1957 and rehabilitated later [see Rehabilitation in the Soviet Union] [20]. She received an apartment in Moscow.
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My grandparents had two daughters: Klara and Bronislava. Klara, the older one, died young before the Revolution, and Bronislava survived.
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I remember my grandmother as a very thin and quiet woman, always busy with the housework. She cooked delicious food. I don't know where Grandmother Gitlia studied, but she had some education.
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Before the Revolution he lived in Switzerland and they said he owned a health center there. He dealt in politics and came to Russia to 'do the revolution'. He didn't have a family.
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My grandfather was ill and bound to bed when revolutionary navies came to his home and took away everything of value. Miraculously of all family jewelry a golden brooch in the form of a safety pin with a square head with a few small diamonds in it remained with them. This was my mother's favorite and only piece of jewelry.
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My grandparents were wealthy, but lost everything after the October Revolution [see Russian Revolution of 1917] [1].
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Anna Ivankovitser

Before and after the Revolution of 1917 Petliura's [2] gangs attacked towns and villages. They didn't kill people, but robbed them. They would beat or threaten people, but in all this time they didn't kill anybody in Polonoye. This town was lucky in this respect, because Jews were killed in other towns. Polonoye was a small town with a population of 1,000 at most. Before the war, Jews had no conflicts with the Ukrainian and Polish population. In 1941 the entire Jewish population was exterminated. Since then there have been no Jews in this village. The Revolution of 1917 had no impact on the way of life in Polonoye. There were communists among the poorer people in Polonoye, but they didn't make any difference in the general pace of life of the town.
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My mother's sisters moved to America before the Revolution of 1917. Esther was the first to go. She was a communist and was involved in revolutionary activities. The police department became aware of this. My grandfather had acquaintances there and was told confidentially that they were going to arrest Esther. My grandfather told Esther to escape to America. She left in 1915. Esther married a Jewish man in America. I don't remember his name. He was an engineer. Esther was very good at embroidery. We had a few collars that she embroidered. But she didn't like housework and her husband did everything about the house, which he didn't mind at all. They had two daughters and a son named Erik. I don't remember their daughters' names. They lived in California.
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