I with my fiancee Maria Leschinskaya. This photo was taken in Uzhgorod in 1938.
I finished school in 1936. My parents wanted me to continue my studies, but I wanted to be independent. I asked my father to help me become an apprentice waiter in Bercsenyi restaurant. I wanted to work and study in the trade school in Uzhhorod. I studied three years at school. Besides major subjects future waiters had to study confectionery, butcher and cooks' trades. Besides learning a profession I also had to do errands for senior waiters. Before lunch I always went to a small kosher store. Chief waiter Lontushyi liked kosher food very much. Although waiters had two free meals per day at the restaurant, Lontushyi liked what they made in this store and I went there every day to buy him cholnt, chicken broth with matzah or goose stew. I liked work and learned fast. At work I met Maria Leschinskaya, a Slovakian girl from Goronda village [37 km from Uzhhorod, 670 km from Kiev] Uzhhorod district. Her last name sounded like Polish. Perhaps, her ancestors came from Poland. Maria was one year older. She was born in 1921. We came to work at the same time. Maria was an apprentice of a cook. One year later she began to work as a cook. We began to meet and fell in love with one another. We worked the same shift and saw each other at work and after work. Maria was Christian, catholic. My parents or Maria's parents had nothing against our marriage when we learned to earn our living.
We got married in July 1945. It goes without saying that we didn't have a Jewish wedding. We registered our marriage in a registry office and invited our friends to dinner in the evening in Maria parents' home. She worked as a cook in the former Bercsenyi restaurant that was now called 'Ruta' (means 'rue'). I went to work there as a waiter.