Naum Iosifovich Poliak Biography

Ukraine, 2002
Ukraine, 2002
I am Naum Iosifovich Poliak. I was born on 3 September 1923 in Fastov, Kiev Province. My grandfather’s name was Nuhim Poliak. My grandmother’s name was Rahil Poliak. I don’t know her nee name. 
My grandfather was a salesman dealing with timber. They had a big family with five children. The oldest son was Zalman Poliak, born around 1880. The second child was my aunt Sonia, born about 1885. Her nee name was Poliak and her name in marriage was Markman. Her husband’s name was Isaak Markman. The next ones were brothers Lyova and Abram. Lyova and Abram lived with grandfather in the same house and worked with him, too. They were killed by Petlura soldiers in 1919.My father Iosif Poliak was the last child and the youngest one he was born in 1890 in Fastov, Kiev Province. 
My father’s older brother Zalman was also involved in timber sales like his father. Before the revolution he bought a big apartment in Kiev. He lived there until 1939. He was a very rich man before the revolution. After the revolution he went to work in the timber industry. He had three daughters: Bazia, Mania and Ida. They were very good at music. Mania was laureate of international awards. She studied in Moscow and her teacher was Professor Steinberg. Later she married him. Zalman died in Kiev in 1939. My father’s sister Sonia married Isaak Markman. He was an entrepreneur and manufactured metalwork. They had a son and a daughter. In 1935 Sonia and Isaak moved to Kiev. They bought a big apartment in the very center of the town in Lutheranskaya street.
I remember well my grandfather’s house in Fastov. He had a big house with seven rooms and the yard was paved. There were stalls for horses in the yard. My grandfather had at least five horses. His was a one-storied brick house with the basement. They had running water in the house, and the toilet was in the yard. There was another separate entrance in the house. It led to the rooms, inhabited by the family of my father’s older brother Lyova. There was a big window-closed verandah.  It served as a dining-room. The whole family got together at the table every Saturday. Grandfather Nuhim was sitting at the head of the table to lead the Shabbath and grandmother was fetching the dishes. Grandfather was a very religious man. He always wore a kipa and prayed daily wearing thales and tfillin. The construction of this verandah was very interesting. 
When the family wanted to celebrate a holiday in the open air, they opened the roof and there were tree branches and other plants hanging from above. Fastov used to be a Jewish town. Jewish population had lived there since ancient times. I remember Karpilovskiy, who was selling second-hand things, then Kipnis, his next door neighbor – he owned a store.  The famous brewer Gussovskiy and his family lived across the street. His beer was very popular throughout the province. There were two synagogues in the central street. My grandfather went to the synagogue every day.
My grandfather had a religious education. He went to the cheder when he was a child, but that’s all I know about where he studied. He was quite an intelligent person and could manage his business all right. My grandmother also had a Jewish education. My grandmother was rather well off, and wanted all his children to be educated. He invited students from Kiev to teach his children. Therefore, besides Jewish education, all children studied general subjects and were intelligent.
My father like all other children received both Jewish and secular education. He finished school and then joined his father’s business as his assistant. My grandfather’s family lived very well. They were well-respected people and everything went well, but then the civil war burst out. There were gangs, Denikin and Petlura groups, etc. At that time the Jewish pogroms started. In 1919 Petlura soldiers shot my grandfather and two of his sons – Lyova and Abram and their families in the yard of their house. They didn’t kill my father. He was very strong physically. They yoked him in the cart and made him take the boxes full of their loot to a house near the market, where they were staying. They didn’t kill my grandmother. 
After my father finished his job they made him climb to the roof of the house and left him there taking away the ladder. My grandfather came out of the house and started calling whether there was anyone alive. They were all dead lying in the yard: my grandfather, her sons Lev and Abram, their wives and children. At that moment my father called from the roof. Hearing his voice my grandmother fell dead from heart attack. My father, Sonia who lived in another street and Zalman living in Kiev at that time escaped the pogrom, survived this tragedy.
My father kept living in Fastov. He got a job at a commercial bank. Father has stayed to live in the parental house, and live that we else long, before the moving in the Kiev in 1938. He was an interesting and attractive young man. He was introduced to quite a few Jewish girls. Then he met my mother Gabovich Shendle-Rivah (she had two names).
My mother Gabovich Shendle-Rivah was born in Belaya Terkov in 1895. This was a town in the province where countess lived. She was the wife of count Pototskiy. [This very known and respected surnames of Russian princes, aristocrats. After receipts soviet authorities they were kills, but their building ravaged. Their name is dedicated to the oblivion.] The gangs did not come to Belaya Tserkovand the Gabovich family stayed alive. This was an interesting town. There was a famous Aleandriyskiy park that belonged to countess Branitskaya. This was the place where young people got together, spent their evenings and danced. There was a brass band playing. It was an interesting community in this town.
The name of my grandfather on my mother’s side was Kalman Gabovich. I can’t remember when he was born. I believe, it must have been some time between 1850 and 1860. The name of my grandmother on my mother’s side was Esther. She was born about the same time as my grandfather, only she was five years younger than him. Grandfather Kalman died in 1922 and my grandmother died in 1925.
Grandfather Kalman owned a mill near the orthodox church and was an independent and a well-to-do man. They had 18 children, only 9 of which survived – six daughters and three sons. He gave education to all of them. His daughters married successful businessmen. The oldest girl’s name was Perl, and she was born around 1875. Her husband Binevich owned a cloth factory in Slavuta, Vinnitsa region. They didn’t have any children. In the early 20s during dispossession of the kulaks all his property was taken away. He died soon. Aunt Polia (Perl) moved to Moscow and settled down at Kunysevo, in the suburb of Moscow. The next one was Freida Gabovich. She also married a rich Jewish man from Kiev. His name was Chubinskiy. He owned a five-storied building in the center of Kiev. He leased it. During the Soviet period they also expropriated his property, but he had bought a good apartment in Moscow. Aunt Freida and their son Nuhim Chubinskiy moved there. 
The next sister was Esther. Her last name was Menis in her marriage. They had two sons: Nuhim and Zendl. In the 20s their family also moved to Kuntsevo in the suburb of Moscow. They bought a house there. 
Then was uncle Mendel. Uncle Mendel married his cousin Rahil. They had four children. The next was sister Rosa, Masur was her last name in marriage. They had three children. One of their children perished during the war. The next one was mamma’s brother Aron Gabovich. He lived in Kiev. He had two children. After was aunt Fania, Gorenshtein after her husband. They also lived in Kiev and they had two children. Then came uncle Meyer Gabovich. When he was 16 he left for America to avoid service in the tzarist army. 
This was in 1915 or 1916. He got married there. He supported us and helped a lot in 1933 during the famine in Ukraine. Regretfully, he died in a car accident around 1935 in the USA. Then my mother came, Sheindl Gabovich, the youngest. All children got Jewish education. Besides, students from Kiev gave them lessons at home. They studied all general subjects: literature, history and mathematics.  Although their parents spoke Yiddish at home, the children spoke fluent Russian and Ukrainian. The sons took to business and the daughters married well-to-do Jews successfully.
My parents got married in Fastov in 1921. In 1923 their first child was born – my older brother Kalman (he was called Klim at home) Poliak. On 3 September 1923 I was born, Nuhim Poliak, Nyuma, as they called me. My mother wanted a daughter. In 1925 she had another child – my younger brother Lyova. I was sent to my grandmother in Belaya Tserkov at that time. My first memory of Belaya Tserkov was that they tied my leg to the leg of a carved table. I was a naughty child and ran away from my grandmother.
I remember that in Fastov our neighbor was tsadic Kipnis. He was an older man at the time when I was born. He was married for the second time. He was a rich man. He owned a dairy shop, the only one in Fastov district. Peasants from quite a few villages came to his dairy shop. I remember he had an apple tree in his orchard, its branches were hanging over our garden and we, kids, were stealing his apples.  Tsadik was sitting in his garden at this time muttering his prayers. He was very representative person, always was dress in the long blacken cloth and always carried a hat and thales. All its much respected and little were afraid. The Soviet power didn’t touch him. But, as my father told me, they issued an order some time in 1925. 
According to this order the Jews had to turn over everything that had to do with the Jewish religion. They brought all these things to the yard of Karpilovskiy. I’ve mentioned him already. He was selling second-hand things. He had heaps of thales, ancient Jewish books, leather straps for tfillings, prayer books and Tora scrolls. I remember that we, kids, went there to look at these things. Of course, we didn’t understand that it was a blow for the Jewish population of the town.
In Fastov several synagogues were functioning. Older Jews went there. But younger people were far from religion and they didn’t go to the synagogue. My father was a young man then and he didn’t go to the synagogue. At home we celebrated all Jewish holidays – Pesah and Purim.  We had a big box at home where we kept matsa for Pesach.  We still observed Shabbath at home, but my father didn’t pray. I remember my mother lighting candles before Saturday saying a prayer. On Saturday we sat at the table and my father told us the history of Saturday. We couldn’t celebrate Shabbath to the full, as Saturday was a work day and my father had to go to work and the children had to study on this day. At home we celebrated big holidays, related to the Jewish history – Simhat Tora, Sukkoth, Rosh-Hashanah. Our father was always sitting at the head of the table telling us about the history of this holiday. But celebration of this holiday had more to do with the tradition rather than religion. It seems, our family wasn’t religious by that time. We didn’t even have kosher dishes at home and we didn’t observe kashrut.
Our parents always spoke Russian with us, children. They sometimes used Jewish words talking to one another. In my childhood I went to a Ukrainian kindergarten and then went to a Ukrainian school, although there was a Jewish school in Fastov. I don’t know what the reason was. Most likely, my father, suffering from the tragedy in his family was trying to tear us away from the Jewish life. I had friends of different nationalities – Russian, Ukrainian and Jewish. Nationality didn’t matter then. For example, later, in Kiev, we went to the Ukrainian and Jewish theater. In the Jewish theater we saw “Tevie-the dairy man” by Sholom Aleihem in Yiddish  and my parents translated the text to me and my Russian friends.
I hardly knew any Yiddish, but I couldn’t write or speak. In those years they published many books in Russian and Ukrainian and I read them. I remember that we even studied Sholom Aleihem at our literature classes. It was in the Ukrainian school. In my childhood I had a problem related to the issue of nationality. However, it had nothing to do with the Jewish nationality. I drew well, and my teacher asked me to draw a diagram of the growth of education or something else. I took a big sheet of the paper and drew the diagram – a blue stripe and a yellow stripe, then the blue stripe and the yellow one, etc. Then my parents were called to NKVD (People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs), because what I made were the colors of Petlura flag. They were trying to find out who came to our house and whether we had Ukrainian nationalistic gatherings. I guess, our Jewish identity helped my parents and me in this case, as it would be ridiculous to be looking for Ukrainian nationalists in our house. I liked to study German at school. Our German teacher was Fania Naumovna, a Jew. She was a very good teacher. Later my knowledge of German served me well, during the war and afterwards. I went in for sports, gymnastics, in particular. I was a weak boy and I went in for gymnastics to grow stronger. I was an active pioneer. At that time we, pioneers, went to the Palace of Pioneers almost every day to various clubs. I was fond of biology and went to the biology club. Our teacher was Taras Protsenko, he was very good and he taught us to love the living beings. During the war he stayed in Fastov working at school. After the war they summoned him to the relevant authorities, chasing and persecuting him. He hanged himself. I finished 8 classes in Fastov.
In summer our father sold the house in Fastov and built an apartment in Kiev, on the attic floor in Kreschatik. In autumn we moved to Kiev.  This was at the end of 1938. My father did this so that we, his sons, could continue our education in the higher educational institutions.  In Fastov my father worked as an accountant in a commercial organization. In Kiev he also got a job as an accountant in the Kiev Book organization. I went to school, located in the Pechersk district in Kiev. In our school children of the government and party officials studied.  Some of their parents had already been arrested but they never talked about it at school. I remember them arresting director of a publishing house, our neighbor. He returned home in 1952 in a wheel chair being very ill.  Fortunately, our family avoided repression. I studied a lot and participated in quite a few Komsomol activities. I attended the following clubs: physical culture and a navy club, where I was awarded the title of a young sailor. I didn’t know that we were on the verge of the war and I submitted my documents to the Leningrad navy school named after Dzerzhinskiy. 
At that time when fascism came to power in Germany all contemporary and reasonable young people were concerned with their future. I can’t say that we were not thinking about the war. We were thinking and we were concerned, but we hoped that we would not get involved in it. This was especially convincing after execution of Ribbenthrop-Molotov Pact.  We didn’t know how Hitler was treating the Jewish people. I had a book, entitled “Hitler against the USSR”. It had a very detailed description of the fascist ideology, but it didn’t mention anything about genocide towards the Jews.  I heard about it for the first time in 1941 when the war started. Trains full of Jews were arriving at Kiev stations from the Western parts of Ukraine. These refugees settled down in the Botanical Gardens – they lived there. They were lying on the ground. They were evacuated Jews and they told us about extermination and brutal murders of the Jews on the occupied lands.
On 21 June 1941 I was at my prom. It was a lovely evening. At two o’clock in the morning after the party we were walking along the steep street of Sobachka and talking. The subject of our discussion was the possibility of the war. Some were saying that the fascists couldn’t even measure swords with us and the others thought there would be a war. I came home at three o’clock in the morning and went to bed. All of a sudden at 4 o’clock in the morning we heard some sounds of explosions. We realized that it was air raid and that the war began. I had a ticket to the stadium. On this day they were planning to have the opening ceremony and a football game. But at 12 o’clock Molotov spoke on declaration of the war on the radio.   We were at home. Our widows faced the Bessarabka square – there were loudspeakers there. At 12 o’clock I went to the stadium to find out about the football game. There was an announcement there saying “The football game is cancelled due to the war”.  But I kept my ticket and went to the football game in 1946. 
At the beginning of the war some stores and enterprises in Kiev were still open. But quite a few plants started preparations for evacuation from the first days of the war. Although the official propaganda was saying that Kiev wouldn’t surrender people were in panic.  It was a problem to leave the town. My parents left Kiev on 5 July with mamma’s sister Fania Gorenshtein and her family. But I couldn’t evacuate on the 5th, because I was summoned to be at the recruiting office on the 10th. I was only 17 then to reach 18 in September. But I was a Komsomol member and was bound to come to the recruiting office, therefore, I couldn’t leave with my family.  I went to the recruiting office after my parents left on the 5th of July.  There was panic there. All recruits were assigned by the recruiting office and were leaving, but those under age were told to come on the tenth.  There were piles of ashes in the streets all around, all organizations were burning their archives. When I came to the recruiting office on 10 July, there was nobody around. There was a note on the door saying that all those under the recruit age were to board the train on the 2nd line at the railway station and that was all there was. 
I made some pies for the road and put them in my backpack. I took some underwear, as they had told us to take few clothes with us as we supposedly were leaving just for two or three months. I boarded my train. There were quite a few refugees there – Jews and gypsies from Western Ukraine, the ones that were accommodated in the Botanical gardens. The trip lasted more than two weeks. We arrived in Donetsk (it was called Stalino then) where we changed for another train. It was boarded by the same Polish Jews and gypsies. We headed for Volgogradskaya region, Salskiy steppe. I was accommodated in a house, owned by an old woman and an old man, at the farm-stead Mokrov. I worked at the harvesting. 
My parents were at the Urals. At first they lived in the village of Bina and then moved to the town of Revda. There was a copper-smelting factory there. My father worked at it as an accountant until the end of the war. Prior to my parents departure from Kiev we agreed to communicate via our relatives living in Moscow. I found out where my parents were from my relatives, obtained a certificate from the collective farm that I completed my assignment in this collective farm and went to my parents in the Urals. It took me a whole month to get there. When I arrived my mother got terrified from the way I was looking. It was a long and hard trip. I also missed my train, leaving there my small belongings and documents.  To catch up with this train I climbed into a coal shed and spent a night there trying not to be seen by anybody. I got out of there black as a Negro.  I got to Svedlovsk. 
I had no money with me. To earn a little I help the evacuated families to carry their luggage. They paid me 25 roubles for carrying two huge suitcases from train to the station. In this way I managed to collect some things for the trip. I even bought myself a scarf to cover my head and ears – it was winter already. That’s how my parents saw me – thin, with the scarf around my head and fleas I was standing in front of them.  I lived with them about a month and then I found out that the Novosibirsk Institute of Railroad Transportation Engineers wanted students of under-recruit age. Students got a delay from being recruited to the army. I went to Novosibirsk and entered this Institute without any problems. I also called my younger brother to come there and he also entered this Institute. Lyova was born on 1 January 1926, but my father registered his birthday on 31 December 1925. This one day cost a life for my brother. In 1942 they recruited soldiers from our Institute and they took Lyova to the army, because he was officially born in 1925. They didn’t take me to the army, because I had flat feet. But there was another recruit campaign in spring 1943 and they took me to the army. Flat feet didn’t count any more.
I was sent to Leningrad Military Artillery College (it was in Tomsk then). In few months they sent a group of cadets (I was among them, too) to continue studying at the radiotechnical faculty.  We studied receiving devices for radars that had already been adopted by western countries. We graduated in 1944. I graduated this college with honors. When they asked me in what location I wanted my assignment I asked about the South-Western front, nearer to Kiev that had been liberated by then. I received assignment as commanding officer of a spotlight and anti-craft unit on the Western border. There were only girls in it. I received this unit in January 1945 and met the victory on the same position in the vicinity of Lvov.  When the war finished I was in the rank of second lieutenant. 
I had to continue my studies at the Institute of Railroad Transportation and I demobilized from the army in 1946. At that time the order was issued to dismiss the officers so that they continued their studies. I returned to Kiev. My parents were already there. I entered the second course the Construction Institute. 
My older brother Kalman (Klim) was mobilized in 1940, before the war, to the NKVD (People’s Committee for Interal Affairs) Army. At first he was at the border in Uzbekistan. When the war began he was transferred to Moscow to the 10th special regiment that was involved .in all operations, related to deportation of the Crimean Tartars, Chechens, Latvians, Western Ukrainians and Estonians to Siberia and Middle Asia. My brother never wrote me about it during the war and after the war he didn’t like to talk about these tragic events. He finished the war at the  Red Square in Moscow. He participated in the Victory Parade. My brother returned to Kiev, got married here and lived in Kiev until the end of his days. He died in 1985.
My younger brother Lyova was recruited to the army from Novosibirsk Railroad Transportation Institute. He was summoned to Moscow reserve regiment. He was under 17 and all commanders treated him nicely. But there were soldiers that ridiculed him. They said that he was not sent to the front because of his Jewish nationality and that he managed to have things turn out his way like all other Jews.   Lyova couldn’t stand this. He submitted his application to be sent to the front three times. At last they sent him to the front in the vicinity of Kaliningrad. This was in the summer of 1944. On 15 November 1944 my mother had a terrible dream as if something had happened to Lyova. It turned our that a few days before Lyova had been severely wounded, his right leg was smashed. They performed a surgery there and transported him to a hospital in the vicinity of Moscow. On the way gangrene started and he died in Moscow on 15 November.  My mother sensed it on this day being a thousand kilometers away. I would also like to tell you about my other relatives that went through the war.
Kolia (he was called Kalman in the Yiddish way), the son of my mother’s brother Aron Gabovich wаs on the front.  He was born in 1923 and he was recruited in the army. He was captured by the Germans. He had fair hair and he didn’t look like a Jew and so, he managed to survive. He pretended he was a Belarus. His name Gabovich also sounded like a Bielorussian name.  After the German captivity he was sent to the Stalin’s camps on Kolyma. He returned an invalid from there. He wasn’t allowed to live in Kiev. He left for Odessa and worked there as a mechanic. Later his feet stopped functioning due to the years in camps. In 1989 he left for Israel, but he died on the way. 
At the very beginning of the war Solomon, the son of my mother’s sister Rosa Mazur, perished. Klim (Kalman in the Jewish manner), the son of my Aunt Fania Gorshtein went through the whole war. He was severely wounded. After the war he finished the Institute of stomatology in Kiev. He moved to the USA in the late 70s and died there recently. Nuhim Markman, the son of my father’s sister Sonia, also participated in the war. He finished an aviation school, went through the whole war and remained in the army. After the demobilization he lectured in a military school in Kazan, where he has stayed. Liza, the sister of Isaak Markman, Aunt Sonia’ husband, was married to the Polish Jew Ferentz. When people evacuated from Kiev he stayed. They were all exterminated in the Babiy Yar: Ferentz, Lizaand their child.
I entered Kiev engineering and construction institute in 1946. The policy of anti-Semitism had already begun in those years but our rector Fursov was a very decent man. Many Jews entered Kiev engineering and construction institute after they returned from the front. About half of 120 of my co-students were Jewish. And we never felt any unfavorable attitude towards the Jews. 
I graduated from the Kiev Construction Institute and got a diploma of industrial and civil construction engineer. My assignment was in Perm (the town of Molotov at that time). My assignment there was for three years. At that time, in 1953, the Stalin’s “doctors case” had its impact on me. I was Chief of Technical department on a big construction site since 1952. But all of a sudden I was transferred to elevator construction site in Sverdlovsk as a foreman. I didn’t know the reason at first. But later, after I read in newspapers about the “doctors case” and struggle with cosmopolites, it became clear to me. Few more times I was sent from one construction site to another, always on a lower position. In three years’ time I returned to Kiev. It was in 1953.  It was next to impossible for a Jew to find a job. 
Wherever I came I heard one and the same answer “Please come tomorrow”. I came the next day but the vacancy was filled. Then I came to the “Village Energy Project Organization”. Director of this organization was Kvachov, the former partisan. His wife was my former co-student Fira Gorshtein and his attitude towards the Jews was very good. Quite a few Jewish specialists had jobs in his institute. I was hired as an engineer in this Institute and worked there for 40 years. I was promoted to the position of Chief specialist in this institute.  I retired from this position at my time.
In 1953 when I was still working in the Urals, I met Maria during my vacation in Kiev. She also studied at our Institute. She was given birth in borough Oster near Kiev, in poor Jewish family. My mother was very concerned that I was still a bachelor at 30. We had much in common with Maria and we liked each other a lot. We got married in 1953. We didn’t have a big wedding. It was just a family dinner. I worked another half a year in the Urals and then I returned to Kiev. I came back to my wife. She was sent to work at the Kiev Design Institute. Maria worked as an engineer and then as a chief engineer there. Then she moved to another research institute and worked there until retirement. The top of her career was the chief of the group – nothing higher.
We have two daughters: Margarita, born 1954 and Yevgenia born in 1959. They finished school successfully. After school both of them tried to enter the construction institute, but both of them faced anti-Semitism.  My older daughter received a satisfactory mark in physics, and she could only be enrolled in the evening studies. My acquaintances helped us to with her admission. Se worked and studied and graduated from this institute successfully and got a very good job. Margarita married a Jewish man. She always identified herself as a Jew, and in the recent years she has read a lot about the history of Israel. She is fond of its language. She has learned Hebrew while living in Ukraine. In 1991 her husband and daughter and she moved to Israel. In Israel she was awarded the first prize at the contest of construction designers and got a job. Now she has a very good job and a nice house. We are going to our oldest granddaughter’s wedding soon. She graduated from the Polytechnical Institute in Haifa, served in the army of Israel and received the title of Bachelor of Science. 
My younger daughter Yevgenia is not that much fond of the Jewish life. She lives in Kiev, but she doesn’t participate in the Jewish life. My mother Sheindla Poliak died in 1959 in Kiev.  Mamma could not live with the thought of Lyova’s death, she ailed after the war and died soon. My father Iosif Poliak died in Kiev in 1971. 
I have always been interested in the Jewish history and literature. When I was young I read many Jewish authors and went to the Jewish theater.  Even during the war I went to the concert of Jewish artists in Novosibirsk.  After the war (around 1946) I went to the Academy of Sciences Library and read all Jewish literature there.  I read 12 volumes of Theodore Hertz, [German writer, philosopher, figure of Zionist motion.] many books by Zhabotinskiy [Zhabotinskiy Vladimir (Zeev) (1880-1940), writer, figure of Zionist motion. Before 1914 live in Russia, after 1920 - in France basically. Write in Russian, Jew, French languages.] However, when I returned to Kiev from the Urals in 1953 I went to this library, but they told me that they had never had any of these books. Later there were rumors that all Jewish books had been extracted from libraries and burnt. I don’t know whether it was true or not but there was no serious Jewish literature in the libraries until the latest years.
In the recent ten years with the beginning of Perestroika development of the Jewish community and cultural life has become possible in Ukraine. I attended the meeting of the first Jewish cultural community organized in Kiev in 1991. I am a member of the Jewish culture club, often go to the Israel cultural center and the Jewish center “Hesed”. My wife and I read all Jewish newspapers published in Kiev and I am happy that it has become possible. 
There are three synagogues in Kiev. The Head of one of them that was recently returned to the Jewish community is my nephew Mikhail Menis, my Aunt Esther’s grandson. Mikhail was very fond of Judaism when he was still living in the USSR, he went to Israel, received a religious education and returned to Kiev. We try to note Jewish holidays, though, if speak honestly, do not know as this needed to do. Keep post in Yam Kippur, light candles on Chanukah. It is certainly a great pity that we are beginning to identify ourselves with the Jews so late, but it is probably a destiny typical to the Jews of my generation in this country.
I would love to live in Israel and to know how it feels to be a Jew. I like this country a lot. I have a feeling of it as of my Motherland. We can’t move there as yet (due to our family circumstances – this has to do with my daughter). But I hope I will be living in Israel.