A bath-house in the Jewish borough Yanovichi, where Blyuma Perlstein lived

This is a bath-house in the Jewish borough Yanovichi, where I lived. The drawing is from the year 1926.

The Yanovichi settlement where I was born was located 30 kilometers from Vitebsk. It was a very cultural place, since literate and intelligent Jews and Russians lived there. Before and after the Revolution all children, both Jewish and Russian, went to school together and I never heard the word ‘anti-Semitism’, because we all lived in friendship. Only the Kolonitsky family stood out. It was a Russian family of intellectuals and three people from this family were our teachers: two women and one man, Alexey Yakovlevich, thanks to whom we have the possibility to remember Yanovichi, looking at pictures made from his drawings.

Alexey Yakovlevich also taught me drawing, history, mathematics and physics. He lived the last years of his life in Moscow. My brother Aron also lived there and they kept in touch with each other. Alexey Yakovlevich gave all the pictures made from drawings, which he drew in Yanovichi, to my brother. My brother Aron died in 1977 and I inherited all these pictures.

There was an old public bath-house on the bank of the river. There was a high chimney on the banya roof and a well, from which water was taken. The banya also had an extension, used for household purposes. The banya operated only on certain days; there were women’s days and men’s days. The mikveh was inside the banya. We went to the banya together with our mom. 

Photos from this interviewee