Solomon Tsyrulnik with an acquaintance

This is my mother's older brother Solomon Tsyrulnik. He is the one on the left. I don't know the other man on the picture. The picture was taken in Skvyra on 26th July 1909.

My grandfather Fridel Tsyrulnik owned a prawn-shop in Skvyra before the Revolution of 1917. My grandmother was raising the children. They were believed to be well-to-do for those days. There were 14 children in the family; ten of them survived. I don't know anything about the other four. In the early 1920s two sisters and two brothers went to America and took with them my grandmother at first, and, later on, also my grandfather.

Uncle Solomon lived in Moscow and worked as a doctor with the NKVD. He had changed his name to Alexei. When the war began he came to our house and said to my mother, 'Bluma, get packed and leave immediately. The car is waiting in the yard'. 'What?! I won't go!', my mother replied. And he urged her, 'Go now! The Germans are killing all Jews'. Nobody else said anything like this back then; nobody knew. That's why mama didn't take his words seriously and didn't want to leave. I remember how mama was holding on to the doorway crying that she wouldn't go and leave Sarra alone in the hospital. Alexei and the driver lifted mama up, took her outside and threw her into the car. And he said, 'I will take care of Sarra. They will evacuate health centers first'. I believe, this was on 6th August. We were one of the first people to evacuate.