Semyon Levbarg with his colleagues at the parade on 1st May

Image

My colleagues and I (wearing a black hat) at the parade on 1st May. This photo was taken in Kiev approximately in 1960.

In 1946 I got a job in the 'Ukrsovkhozspetsstroy' trust (design and construction of enterprises in rural areas). I was an engineer there. I worked in this organization until retirement. I was promoted to the position of head of department. I was an active communist. For a few years I was secretary of the Party unit of our company conducting meetings and struggling for increase of labor productivity. We celebrated Soviet holidays - 1st May and 7th November at work. We went to parades. There were many Jews in our organization. When the period of state anti-Semitism began in 1948 and Jews were accused of all deadly sins, beginning from cosmopolitism and ending with the 'doctors' plot' when Jewish doctors were accused of poisoning the Party leaders it actually didn't have any impact on me. I hated to read in newspapers or hear on the radio threats addressed to 'rootless cosmopolites' or 'doctors poisoners' where there were only Jewish names involved, but this all seemed to be happening somewhere far away, in Moscow, in high echelons of the power. It had no impact on my acquaintances either. Of course, I didn't believe what newspapers wrote, but I was afraid to even acknowledge that it could occur to me. I still believed that everything happening in our country was just and that there was some overdoing, but it was impossible to build communism without them. When Stalin died in 1953 I attended a meeting and was grieving along with all others. It never occurred to me that the 'father of the people' was to blame for arrests and death of many thousands of people.

Photo details

Interviewee

Semyon Levbarg