Auditorium of the Public House in the Jewish borough Yanovichi, where Blyuma Perlstein lived

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This is the auditorium of the Public House in the Jewish borough Yanovichi. The drawing is from the year 1926.

The Yanovichi settlement, where I was born, was located 30 kilometers from Vitebsk. It was a very cultural place, since literate and intelligent Jews and Russians lived there. Before and after the Revolution all children, both Jewish and Russian, went to school together and I never heard the word ‘anti-Semitism,’ because we all lived in friendship. Only the Kolonitsky family stood out. It was a Russian family of intellectuals and three people from this family were our teachers: two women and one man, Alexey Yakovlevich, thanks to whom we have the possibility to remember Yanovichi, looking at pictures made from his drawings.

Alexey Yakovlevich also taught me drawing, history, mathematics and physics. He lived the last years of his life in Moscow. My brother Aron also lived there and they kept in touch with each other. Alexey Yakovlevich gave all the pictures made from drawings, which he drew in Yanovichi, to my brother. My brother Aron died in 1977 and I inherited all these pictures.

In June 1917 a Public House was constructed in Yanovichi, so this local theater group moved there to stage their performances. The Public House can also be seen in the picture, there is a small house with two windows to the right. Through this small house one could get to a big auditorium with a big stage, decorations and comfortable benches for the audience. The walls and ceiling were wooden. Very often actors from other places came on tour to our borough. A Jewish troupe also visited our place. When Soviet times came, school gymnastic groups acted on stage and performed in evening shows. This small house had a room where the pioneer organization was based after the Revolution of 1917. A single-storey building with a hall was located to the left. Behind the small house there was a barn and in front of the house there was a small flower garden. 

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Interviewee: Blyuma Perlstein
Bella Shevchuk
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St. Petersburg, Russia


Blyuma Perlstein
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Physics teacher

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