Boris Bashmet with his friends

My father Boris Bashmet, the third on the left, with his friends, whose names I do not know. This photo was taken in Odessa in 1916, when my father studied in grammar school.

My father Boris – Jewish name Ber – Bashmet was the fourth son of Avrum and Feiga. He was born in 1905. My father studied in cheder and then began to study in a grammar school, which he never finished. My father had little education and wrote with mistakes in Russian. His older brother tried to involve him in his business, but my father separated from him.

My father was very handy and had smart ideas. He knew that after the horrors of the Civil War people would like to decorate their homes, he modified an embroidery needle, with which people could embroider rugs, pillow cases and tablecloths with color threads. The pattern was imprinted on cloth, and the needle was used to make little tight knots that made the embroidery look very fancy. These needles were in great demand. He was an entrepreneur, as they call it now, he had a patent and paid taxes. A financial inspector visited him, and he filled in taxation forms.

The family was not poor. My father was a breadwinner his whole life. He liked working for himself. He didn’t want to be subject to tough discipline at work. When the weather was bad, he stayed at home making his needles and later he went to the market to sell them. He always paid taxes on time. He didn’t want to have any problems with the authorities. He was very independent. He started working at the age of 15, after he lost his father, in the middle of the Civil War.