This photo was taken in 1941 in Bologoye.
Here you can see me and my friend Rebecca. I wear the costume of Malvina, and she performed Pierro. We made them out of the fabric, preparing specially for my sister Lilia, who had to be born in some months. We both participated in the theatre studio and wanted to become actresses.
I started school, when I was eight. I studied at the school number eleven, which was called 'eleventh railways'. There were only three schools in town: ours, twelfth railways' and the ordinary one.
Our school was the State one, but railway supported it. For example, we traveled to Leningrad on holidays and vacations. Our school was the very good one, I think; it was the best one in whole town.
We had good teachers (the only one I could complain for was our literature teacher, she was very young, just graduated from the Institute) and got good education.
Our school was a wooden building, actually two buildings, connected with a corridor. It was situated in the very center of the town, on one of the main streets. We had special hall for sport activities, school provided all kinds of faculties.
During the labor lessons we made shelves and sewed things. We had wonderful New Years' Eves, had the Christmas tree, standing in the middle of the school hall.
I took part in amateur talent activities; we had a wonderful theatre studio, and our Physics teacher managed it. So I was the main star over there, played the main roles. We performed 'Poverty is not a trouble' [play by A.N. Ostrovsky ], and I performed the main role.
There were evenings of amateur talent activities in local Palace of culture [some kind of recreation centre], there was a good House of pioneers Also, when they organized evenings of amateur talent activities, I made some recitation of poetry to musical accompaniment.
I recall my childhood with great pleasure, not paying attention to all difficulties. We had always been in the very center of life, not looking to that fact that we were Jews. And we had friends, and were dating.
We were friends of Permit brothers, they were Jews; all three of them were murdered during the World War II. Brothers played different music instruments, first mandolins, and then violins. I had friends only among my schoolmates.
We danced: in summer in the railway club and on the area of Ptyalin garden. We danced fox-trots, tangos, and waltz. We had the additional dancing facultative at school.
I remember also, that we had a very good Physics teacher, Ossipova Anna Semenovna. Her brother came once from Leningrad for the New Year Eve, when we performed 'Poverty is not a trouble', he invited me for a dance and started to make compliments, he said that I should apply to the theatre institute.
I was burning to do that and before the World War II had begun wrote to GITIS [the State Institute of theatre arts, places in Moscow], I even got a booklet with rules of admittance from there. Daddy, of course, tried to dissuade me from it: 'To be an actress, you need to be beautiful'.
And I replied: 'Father, I'm not ugly'. And my boyfriend Valery Buchinsky (he was murdered during the World War II); he tried to dissuade me too. And then the Great Patriotic War came: we had the graduation party on June, the 17th of 1941, and the War started on June, the 22nd.
However, I and my friend Rebecca being in the last tenth grade, decided to enter the philological faculty of Leningrad University and even had a chance to send them some of our documents.
I don't remember why we chose that certain specialization, probably, we thought that is great, if it is connected with literature.