Samuel Eirus' father and his friends

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This photo was taken in Leningrad in 1936 and shows my father and his friends. Unfortunately I remember nobody of his friends.

My father was born in Estonian city Vyru in 1905. I already told you that my paternal grandfather was a professional revolutionary, and he managed to educate all his sons.

My father spoke Russian, Estonian (I do not take these 2 languages into consideration), German and French. By the way I do not know if he knew Yiddish or Hebrew.

Besides, he finished a musical school and played in the Estonian National Orchestra. I keep a photo showing him together with the orchestra musicians. Pay attention that musical education was not free at that time.

My father was a real professional: he was able to perform serious musical compositions. I remember my Mom told that he wrote notes himself. Some musical scores he arranged for his balalaika [a national Russian musical instrument]. I remember him frequently writing notes at home…

I do not remember many Jews among father's or mother's friends. Most visitors were father's colleagues or musicians. I remember that talking to them, father often played his balalaika and they argued about something. We (children) were usually sent to the corridor not to distract adults.

We arrived in Leningrad in 1933. We lived near Fontanka River and there was a Club named after Kalinin next door. Like other houses of culture they arranged different meetings including cinema shows.

Different orchestras used to give small concerts before the beginning of cinema shows. And I remember very well that my father organized an ensemble (some sort of orchestra) to perform before cinema shows. He played balalaika.

I remember it very well because father used to take me with him, so that I could watch cinema show. I was absolutely not interested in performances of his ensemble. But to tell the truth, at present I remember only his performances and nothing about those feature films.

Mom told me that my father was very sociable, very cheerful and liked to talk. I guess he had said too much in a company, and somebody informed NKVD against him (somebody who was evil-eyed). But when my father was taken away, we were not informed about any charges against him.

It happened in summer when we were at dacha. Father was alone at home. Our neighbors told us later that he was taken at night (we knew that it always happened at night time).

They arrived in a black car (people called in Cherny Voron). They used to come together with a street cleaner, and father had to open the door. They made a search. Everything was turned upside down: all linen was thrown out of the wardrobe, all books were on the floor… Our neighbors informed us, and we immediately rushed home…

Mother addressed municipal officials and got to know that father was in the Kresty prison [a well-known prison on the territory of Leningrad]. At first Mom brought father food packages.

And then one day they refused to take her package and informed that father was sentenced to 10 years of camps without right of correspondence. We never got to know where he was taken from Leningrad.

I told you already that only much later we found out what it meant. My father was hopeful of justice, but alas: at that time there was no justice.

In 1958 my Mom received a certificate of father's death. It was written there that he was rehabilitated posthumously.

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Interviewee

Samuel Eirus