Photo taken in:PrilukiYear when photo was taken:1909Country name at time of photo:Russia, pre 1917Country name today:Ukraine
My mother Anna Sirota, nee Ghivertz, at the age of 17. She was a pharmacist apprentice at the time. She received her first salary and decided to have her photograph taken in a photo shop. This photo was taken in Priluki in 1909.
My mother didn’t like to recall her childhood. Probably, it was difficult. Her brother Isaac, born in 1887, and her sister Rosa, born in 1889, had Ukrainian baby-sitters, who taught them to speak Ukrainian and sang Ukrainian songs to them. I don’t know my grandfather’s second wife’s name. They had two more children, two girls, whose names I don’t know either.
My grandfather’s children from his first marriage didn’t like their stepmother and played tricks on her. I don’t remember any details since the family didn’t talk about it. It resulted in a scandal. My grandfather ordered his older son Isaac to leave the house. Sister Rosa and my mother Anna stood up for their brother. They left the house as well.
My mother had to live on her own since the age of 14. She studied in a Jewish school for girls in Priluki, living with her aunt, my grandmother’s sister Esther. The families where my mother lived when she was a girl spoke Ukrainian and she didn’t learn spoken Yiddish and in her school she learned to read and write in Yiddish. My mother was not religious. At the age of 17 my mother became an apprentice of a pharmacist. This was a good profession, but it didn’t bring much money. My mother was poor and lived in a room in the pharmacy.