Dora Puchalskaya’s mother Vera Gitman with a group of holidaymakers

My mother Vera Gitman (nee Richter), photographed with a group of holidaymakers at the Issyk-Ata resort, in Kazakhstan. My mother is the one wearing a hard hat (on the right). This photo was taken  in the late 1930s.

My mother Basia Richter was born in Litin in 1913. She was raised to observe the Jewish traditions and religion, but she was growing up during the first Soviet years inspired by the romantic feeling of construction of socialism. My mother studied in a Ukrainian lower secondary school. She said that her parents wanted her to study in a Jewish school, but since many other children went to a Ukrainian school my mother also wanted to study there. My mother was two years younger than my father and they didn't communicate at school. They met in a pioneer camp in summer and had been together ever since. After finishing school my mother studied in a Pedagogical School. She became a primary school teacher. Although my mother was a Komsomol member, she observed Jewish traditions at home from respect of her parents. My father entered a Road Construction College in Vinnitsa. After finishing this college he returned to Litin and became a road engineer. They  got married in 1933. My father loved my mother dearly, but he didn't have an opportunity to spend much time with her. I remember that he bought her a stay in a recreation center for a month. We missed her a lot.