Irene Shein with her daughter Elena

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This is me during a stroll with my daughter Elena (Swarman, nee Melamed). The picture was taken in Tashkent in 1962.

I had a pre-arranged marriage with my first husband, Moses Melamed. Moses was from the Moldavian town of Dubossary. He was born in 1927. We had a true Jewish wedding – with a rabbi and under the chuppah. People stuck to Jewish traditions in Tashkent. Synagogues were open. Boys were circumcised. There was a Jewish orchestra playing at Jewish weddings. The musicians were very good.

In 1960 our daughter Elena was born. My husband and I didn’t stay together for a long time. He had a hard character. He worked at the plant and was too fond of the bottle. After we got divorced, my daughter and I lived with my parents.

Having finished school my daughter entered Tashkent University, the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics. During holidays Elena went to Tomsk to see my cousin Ronya, with whom we had kept in touch for many years. Ronya introduced Elena to her future husband, Boris Swarzman. Boris’s father had also been in exile. Boris was born in Tomsk in 1950. He graduated from the Faculty of Applied mathematics and Mechanics of Tomsk University. They got married after Elena graduated from the university, in 1983. Elena moved to her husband in Tomsk. In 1985 their daughter Irina, or Inna, was born.

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Interviewee

Irene Shein