Berta Rapoport

This is my mother Berta Rapoport. The picture was taken in Tallinn in 1940. My mother Berta, Jewish Rohe-Braine, was born in Dvinsk in 1890. She was an only child in her religious family. Mother had some Jewish education. I don't know exactly which school she went to, but Mother knew how to read and write Yiddish and Ivrit. In the 1900s, my mother finished a Russian lyceum. I don't know how my parents met. Maybe Mother told me the story, but I was a child and must have had other interests and don't remember her tales. Of course, my parents had a traditional Jewish wedding. Back in that time Jews stuck to Jewish traditions, even if they were not too religious. After getting married my parents lived in Riga for a while. Father did well. He owned a couple of houses in Riga. Soon they moved to Tallinn and father bought a house for our family. After the Revolution of 1917 Father's houses in Riga were sequestrated. He was left with a house in Tallinn and a timber warehouse. Father bought boards and plywood and then sold them to the joiners. My elder sister Polina was born in 1912. Then my brother Samuel was born in 1917. I was the youngest, born in 1924. I was named Simon at birth. My parents were not religious bigots, but Jewish traditions were observed at home. My parents observed the kashrut and marked Jewish holidays. Mother lit candles on Sabbath and prayed over the candles with the hands on her face. My parents went to the synagogue on holidays. We had kosher dishes - separately for meat and dairy food. Certain dishes were used only on Pesach and stored separately from the everyday ones. There was no bread on Pesach. We ate only matzah for the entire Paschal period. In general, all traditions were observed, but without any zealotry.

Photo donated by

Simon Rapoport