Lyuba Beilis

The photograph shows my maternal grandmother Lyuba Beilis. It was taken in Petrograd in the 1920s.

My mother's mother was born in Pskov, in 1880. After she married Joseph Beilis she lived in Yamburg. My grandmother had five children: my mother was the eldest. Next was another daughter, Panya, then a son, Semyon, and then Emma and Eugenia. They were all born in St. Petersburg. My grandparents spoke good Russian and Yiddish, but since their children went to a Russian school they used Russian in their family. However, my grandparents spoke only Yiddish to each other. Their family always observed the kashrut, Sabbath, and all Jewish holidays. My grandmother was a good housewife. She was good at preparing Jewish cuisine: she could cook traditional Jewish meals, and taught her daughters to do the same. She always made her own clothes: her children were always dressed well, and after my grandfather died, she earned a living by making clothes.

My grandmother was a determined person. When World War II began, Uncle Semyon and Aunt Emma's husband went to the front, but the women and children stayed in Leningrad and didn't know what to do. It was my grandmother who made the right decision then: she took all her children and grandchildren from Leningrad to Urzhum, Kirov region [today Russia], where her youngest daughter, Eugenia, lived. All of them returned to Leningrad after the war except my grandmother who died in Urzhum in 1943.