Maya Bashmet with her sons Yuri and Yevgeniy Bashmet

My wife Maya with our sons Yuri (left) and Yevgeniy (right) on vacation. This photo was taken in Khost (near Sochi) in summer 1959. Our boys went to pioneer camps in summer, and we took them to the seashore every summer. 

By the time of finishing college Maya and I already knew that we wanted to live our life together. At the end of 1948 we had our marriage registered in the registry office, and in the evening Aunt Revekka arranged a small dinner party. I got a job assignment to Siberia. Maya’s uncle Boris pulled some strings for me. He was logistics manager of our college. At the very last moment I got another job assignment to the Northern Caucasian railroad, to the Russian town of Rostov-on-the-Don, 920 km from Kiev.

Maya stayed to study in Leningrad. We corresponded, she came to me on vacations and I went to see her in Leningrad. She defended her diploma brilliantly in 1949, and she was already pregnant. On 3rd July 1949 our first son Yevgeniy was born. Sometime later I went to Leningrad to take my wife and son to Rostov-on-the-Don. Maya worked at school a little. On 24th January 1953 our son Yuri was born. Stalin’s death on 5th March 1953 wasn’t a big event for us. We spent all our time with little Yuri.

My mother was very ill. She always had a weak heart, but then she fell ill with cancer of the blood and glands. She died in late 1956. She was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Lvov. My father and 20-year-old Emma were left on their own. I realized that I had to support them and got a transfer to a similar design institute in Lvov. At that time we had a two-room apartment in Rostov that we exchanged for an apartment in Lvov in 1957.  When we moved to Lvov, Yevgeniy was eight. He went to the first grade here. Yuri was four years old. They grew up like all other Soviet children. They were pioneers and Komsomol  members and they were atheists, of course.