Ella Perlman with her husband Iosif Perlman and daughter Bertha Izelmale

This is my husband Iosif Perlman and I, holding our first daughter Bertha. Bertha turned two months. This photo was taken at our home in Riga in 1949.

In 1946 I became an apprentice at the garment factory. It didn't take me long to learn the profession. A very nice lady was the forewoman of the shop. She had no children, and treated me like her daughter. She cooked at home and brought me lunches. The factory provided free lunches for its employees. In autumn employees helped farmers with the harvest. This was a good time. 

My uncle's friend Iosif liked me. He was the same age as my father, born in 1901, and I thought he was an old man. However, some time passed and my relatives and Iosif's relatives started telling me to marry him. Life after the war was very hard, and I knew it would be less difficult, if had a husband like him. Of course, I was hoping to have a younger husband and with whom I’d have more in common, but circumstances forced me to sacrifice my youth and marry Iosif Perlman, who was 25 years older than me.

I didn't regret it. Iosif made a good husband. He cared about me and helped me with everything. He went shopping with me, did not allow me to carry heavy things and stood in lines to buy food. There were always lines in Soviet stores.  He was a very kind and caring man. We got married in 1948. We had a chuppah in my uncle's apartment and had a traditional Jewish wedding. Mama and my aunt did their best cooking. We only invited out relatives, but there happened to be a lot of them. We celebrated our wedding and then lived together in the little room in my uncle's apartment.

Our first daughter was born in 1949. We gave her the name of Bertha, and her Jewish name is Braine after my husband's mother, who had died in the ghetto. We were still living in this little room of about six square meters. There was no space even for a child's bed, and our daughter slept on a chair. When my brother was regimented to the army, we put our daughter's bed in my parents' room. My maternity leave lasted one or two months. I wanted to nurse my little baby, and I quit my job. I went back to work, when my daughter turned three. I went to work as a knitter at the Mara knitwear factory.