Galina Levina with her parents Deborah and Moses Markman

This is a photo of my parents Debora and Moses Markman, holding me, their daughter Galina. Here you can see me when I was very little. This picture was taken in 1937 in Sestrorezk, where our family rented a dacha.

I was born in 1934 and I could never understand why my documents say that I’m ‘Galina Shmuilovna,’ since my father’s name was Moses. They say this was a joke of my uncle David, my Dad’s brother – I don’t know why it was a joke, maybe they meant my mother had some boyfriend, called Samuel, or maybe my uncle didn’t think that I was the real daughter of my father? Anyway, my relatives thought it was funny, but I never considered it funny and hated this name very much! I never had tutors or baby sitters. However, I had a German teacher, Bertha Samsonovna, she taught children both German and good manners. She kept a private kindergarten: we were seven or eight children in one group, and every day we went to one of our homes, including our apartment, too.

When I was a little girl, we went to a dacha in Sestrorezk, but I can’t recall any details. My maternal grandparents went to Kislovodsk every year in the pre-war times. They didn’t take me with them, because scientists considered that a child under the age of five or six shouldn’t change the climate. So they were going to take me with them in 1941. They thought I would start going to the music school the same year.

In my childhood I was a very nice and good-looking girl, my childhood photos even hang in the art photo studio on Nevsky Prospekt. My parents dressed me well, Mother sewed and knitted. Also I had splendid long hair, and just after the war started, they cut it. This happened while I was going to another kindergarten, attached to my Mom’s factory.