Alexander Tsvey with a tourist group

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This is I, Alexander Tsvey in Crimean resort in Alushta in 1949. I second to the left in the 3rd row, sitting on the stone. I am surrounded by people who also came to the resort. I did not know any of them and never saw them afterwards.

In 1946 I was demobilized. In August I came to Moscow. Since childhood I dreamed to be a cinematographer of an actor. I took an attempt to enter cinematography institute, but failed again. Then I opened up a reference book for school-leavers to find out which institute was closer to our house. Moscow Engineering and Construction Institute and I submitted my documents to the mechanics department. In September 1946 I started classes in the institute. I had straight excellent marks for the entire 5 -year period. I was a patriot and took an active part in social work. I was a deputy secretary of Komsomol committee at the institute [Komsomol units existed at all educational and industrial enterprises, headed by Komsomol committees involved in organizational activities]. 2 months before graduation from the institute the rector Boris Ukhov called me.

It was the year of 1951. Jewish Anti-fascist Committee was exterminated, cosmopolite processes were finished [Campaign against cosmopolitans, they did not even try to conceal anti-Semitism. Even under that condition the rector said that he and other teachers knew me very well, were aware of my success and would recommend me to the post-graduate studies. In the end he said: We want to show everybody that we are not biased against anybody. I has always been lucky to meet good people. In actuality the academic council at the institute unanimously recommended me to the post-graduate and party organization supported my candidacy as well, but when the state exams were over I was not admitted to post-graduate department. I was told that there was no vacancy in the chair. There were 10 offers to the scientific and research institute when I was given mandatory job assignment. I was to choose either to work at the plant or at the construction site. When I said that I wanted to work at scientific and research institute, deputy minister of higher education, who was present there, said that I should be grateful for having been left in Moscow. I said that they were doing evil and that the history would not forgive them that. The rector of the institute was sitting there with his hands on his head. He was ashamed and could not even look in my eyes. The secretary of the party committee merely did not show up at the mandatory job assignment board. Then after Stalin's death [1953] I asked why he was not present. He said he was reprimanded for the party organization to act on it's own and recommend me, a Jew, to the post-graduate studies.

I met my wife-to-be Inga Kisina during my studies at the institute. Inga and I got married in December 1951. I got a mandatory job assignment to the trust Stroitel as a mechanic. It was a small-scale plant. It looked like a construction site, where automobile plant named after Stalin, later Likhachev was being build. I did not get along with the director of the plant. He was a semiliterate man and an inveterate anti-Semitist to boot.

In 1952 I was transferred to the construction trust to the department of the chief mechanics. After Stalin's death I got an invitation letter to the post-graduate department of my dear Engineering and Construction Institute.

In 1954 I was admitted there and in 2 years I brilliantly defended my dissertation.

In 1959 I began teaching at Moscow Road Transport Institute, Construction Mechanics. I had worked for that institute all my life. I am still employed there. I was promoted rather rapidly. Soon I became senior teacher. Then I defended doctorate theses and became a professor. I am respected both by my colleagues and peers in spite of my reputation of being strict, reserved and a man of principle.

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Interviewee: Alexander Tsvey
Svetlana Bogdanova
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Moscow, Russia


Alexander Tsvey
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after WW II:
Taught at Moscow Road Transport Institute

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