Photo taken in:DnepropetrovskYear when photo was taken:1932Country name at time of photo:Soviet UnionCountry name today:Russia
This is a picture of my mother, Anna Blinderman, when she was a student at the Pharmaceutical Institute in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. She is with her brothers Yosef and Efim, and her sister, Klara. My family, the Blinderman-Valuev family could be considered a model of unity between representatives of two nations, Russian and Jewish. My father and my spouse not only respected, were devoted to and loved their Jewish wives, but also took care of many of their wives' Jewish relatives. The 1950s were a frightening time.
My mother was a pharmacist. She was discriminated against simply because her nationality was the same as the nationality of those high-ranking doctors who were part of the 'Doctors' Affair.' The suffering of my mother and all our family was intensified by the atmosphere of mistrust and unproven accusations against any doctor or pharmacist with Jewish traits as well as the slanderous verbal attacks that malicious residents directed toward them. Atheism was an intrinsic and unavoidable part of the ideology preached by the USSR. My mother was born in 1914 in the village of Buki, Cherkassia region, Ukraine.
Not long before her death, she came to realize her belief in God, openly lamenting that it occurred so late in her life. My father, Pavel Alekseevich Valuev, was born in Russia, in the village of Kashidra, Moscow region, in 1910. My father graduated from the Moscow Institute of Agricultural Electrification and worked his whole life at the Azovstal factory, first as an engineer and then as the assistant head power-engineering specialist and head of the central laboratory. During the war he was released from the draft because he was sent to Siberia, to the city of Stalinsk, to organize the defense industry there. After finishing diplomatic school in Kiev before the war, my father refused a prestigious post in New Zealand, explaining that he 'couldn't stay for long without the guardianship of the many Jewish relatives of my wife.'
Father was an atheist, which didn't stop him, a Russian, from respecting the religious passion of my grandmother Brana Peisekhovna Shavulskaya. I was born on January 25, 1936, in Mariupol, Ukraine. I studied in Moscow at the Institute of Energy from 1953 to 1958. I was the head of a department of the Central Scientific Research Laboratory of black metallurgy when I retired. I was married to Anatoly Pavlovich Nikolau. My son, Sergei Anatolievich Nikolau, was born on December 1, 1960. He is a neurologist and works at a hospital in St. Petersburg.
Neither I nor my son received a religious upbringing. Rather, we lived amid a Soviet upbringing. Thanks to the harmonious relationships between the older generations of both the Jewish and Russian sides of our family, we had a unique opportunity to create our own family barrier against anti-Semitism, which had been growing in the Soviet Union over many decades.