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Ticu Goldstein

After Romania lost Bessarabia and Bucovina, as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact [6], my father was discharged from the army.
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Livia Diaconescu

My father used to tell us about Poland, Czechoslovakia and the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact [9]. In 1939, we sheltered Polish refugees at our place – they were clean and very refined. Uncle Leon Filderman from Bucharest also had Poles living with him – one of them even sculpted him a bust.
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simon rapoport

The invasion of Poland by Hitler's troops, which was considered to be the beginning of World War II, was swiftly suppressed by Soviet troops. It was far from us and things were calm in Estonia. When Germany was defeated, the Molotov- Ribbentrop pact [13] was signed and in fall 1939 Soviet troops started entering Estonia [14]. It was announced that Soviet military bases would be established in Estonia. The troops were peaceful, thus there was no resistance from the Estonian army. I remember I was struck that Soviet soldiers were so poorly dressed. Boots and coats were of very bad quality. I remember a Soviet officer standing by the best hotel in Tallinn, the Golden Lion. It was a typical weather for Tallinn - it was sleeting, and he was standing in the puddle in 'valenki' [warm Russian felt boots]. I was so surprised that I remembered it. In general, Soviet militaries were very peaceful and we didn't pay that much attention to them.

Then a lot of Soviet movies were screened. Of course, most of them were more or less propaganda but we were surprised that we didn't manage to get the message of the picture. People left the movie houses and were at a loss. I remember one of those movies. I don't remember its name, but the plot was as follows: the director or a chief engineer of a power station was trying to blast the power station for the entire time of the movie. The picture ended with the scene that the director was arrested and the first secretary of the regional party committee congratulated the head of the NKVD [15] on the divulgement of the enemies of the Motherland. It was totally unclear for us. At that time we didn't know anything about the repressions in the USSR [16] and didn't even suspect the existence of 'peoples' enemies' [17]. Then there were rumors on the things happening in the USSR, but they seemed savage and implausible to us. People barely believed in them. Apart from the movies, a lot of Soviet newspapers and magazines appeared. I enjoyed reading educational and technical Soviet journals.

In 1940 I finished the 1st course of the college and was supposed to go through training at the machine building plant Franz Krul. It was a very old plant of a diversified production range - small locomotives for the narrow-gauge railroad between Tallinn and Tartu, cast-iron products, consumer goods and boilers. When I came to the plant for the first time I had to find the person in charge of the workshop. I asked the worker, who was sweeping the floor, where to find him. The person who did odd jobs was a local Russian, a good-looking, jovial, pleasant guy. Then I had to meet that person, Vasiliy Vasiliev, but on other terms.

On 17th June 1940 it was declared that Soviet troops would be entering Estonia. The government of Estonia, led by President Konstantin Pyats, was dissolved and a new government, steered by Estonian communists came in place. The army was disarmed. All parties, but the Communist Party, which used to be underground during the period of the Estonian republic, were banned. Then the parliament was dissolved and new elections were coming. The first action taken by the parliament was - Estonia was declared Estonian Soviet Socialistic Republic and the parliament addressed the Government of the Soviet Union to include Estonia in the USSR. Thus, on 6th August 1940 Estonia became a part of the Soviet Union.
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Nina Khlevner

My parents and my brother moved to Shepetovka [today Ukraine, 250 km west of Kiev] in 1940. I joined them after finishing the eighth grade of school in Rogachyov. We lived in the military settlement. Our garrison was located at the former frontier of the USSR, which, after the annexation of Western Ukraine in September 1939 [17], was shifted to the west. There were 30 four-story brick buildings in the town, where soldiers and military families lived. There was a voentorg and a standard store, a movie-theater, the Red Army House for public and cultural performances.
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Vladimir Tseitlin

There was no premonition that the war was coming. Then there were rumors that Germans were positioning their troops on our border, there was a special announcement on the radio refuting those rumors. They said that Germans were just having a rest after war in Poland and there was no dislocation of troops. In spite of that father kept on saying firmly that the war would be unleashed soon. When non-aggression Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact [25] was signed, father and all his friends and pals castigated actions taken by the government as they thought that Hitler would violate the agreement and attack us. The person who captured half of the Europe could not be trusted .
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