This photograph was taken in 1930s. It shows me together with my cousins Roman and Simon.
My mother's sister Alexandra was married to Eugeny Shuster. They had got 2 children: Roman and Simon. Simon, the younger brother died during the war. Before the war he studied at the musical school (he played violin).
When the war burst out, he started working as a milling-machine operator at a plant. When the blockade began, all plants were evacuated, and his factory moved to Chelyabinsk.
There he could not survive under unbearable conditions (he was only a boy, mamma's darling) and decided to run away from Chelyabinsk to Leningrad. T
hey caught him on his way and sent to penal battalion [penal battalions consisted of military men who committed crimes during wartime], where he was killed. You see, the boy was considered to be a deserter!
Roman was a student of the 3rd course when he was drafted in 1939. He finished a school of younger commanders and fought at the German front line and later in Japan.
When we finished war against Germany, our armies were moved to Japan [the interviewee is mistaken: they moved to the Far East, Soviet armies never were in Japan]. Roman returned home with a lot of military awards. I remember that he was an orderly of a high commander.
After the end of the war he started working at the Leningrad cartographical factory. He considered himself to be too old for studying. All his life long he worked. Recently he became a pensioner, but unfortunately while crossing the street he was run over and died.
Roman was married to a Russian woman, but they divorced long time ago (he did not marry for the 2nd time). He had got a son Anatoly Shuster. Anatoly lives in St. Petersburg. He is married to a Jewess.
I do not remember when aunt Alexandra arrived in Leningrad. I remember her and her husband well because we often visited each other. She stayed in Leningrad during the blockade.
Aunt Alexandra received an award for defense of Leningrad: she was in fighting battalion (they put out fire bombs on city roofs).
When we arrived in Leningrad after evacuation, we placed ourselves at aunt Alexandra's room, because our room appeared to be occupied. At that time Roman was still in the army.
They lived in a 2-room communal apartment (occupied 1 room). And next door there lived Valya, a girl whom Roman married later. She was very nice and I often gave her the look. I was 16 years old, and she was older (maybe 20). She was very sociable and we frequently talked about nothing.
Alexandra died in 1980s and her husband died in 1975.