Basia Gutnik's uncle Yan Gutnik

Basia Gutnik's uncle Yan Gutnik
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  • Photo taken in:
    Kalinin
    Year when photo was taken:
    1940
    Country name at time of photo:
    USSR
    Country name today:
    Russia
My uncle Yan Gutnik. This photo was taken in Kalinin in 1940. My father's brother Yan Gutnik (1913 - 1941) graduated from the rabfak , or trade school, and gained admission to the Institute of Light Industry. He was single. Yan's co-students used to get together at our home, my maternal grandfather's place. They had disputes and discussions and discussed books they had read and performances they had attended. Sometimes they worked as a crowd at the Jewish theater, in a building which is now the Brodsky synagogue. One of Yan's friends was Russian and didn't understand a word of Yiddish. Yan and a few other young Jewish men taught him a few words and he shouted them out with everybody else, though he didn't know what they meant. We were poor, but we had a rich spiritual life. Yan went into the army in 1939, along with his co-students. Their mothers were all missing them and crying after them, but my grandmother said 'Well, what are you crying about? There's no war. They will serve their term and come back!' But, unfortunately, the war began when it was time for him to demobilize. I believe he perished somewhere in the vicinity of Viasma. We received only one letter from him when during the evacuation. All our neighbors cried as they read his letter. We were told about it when we returned after the war. Yan perished in 1941, and we don't know where he was buried.

Interview details

Interviewee: Basia Gutnik
Interviewer:
Zhmyr Oksana
Month of interview:
June
Year of interview:
2002
Kiev, Ukraine

KEY PERSON

Yan Gutnik
Year of birth:
1913
City of birth:
Kiev
Country name at time of birth:
Russia
Year of death:
1941
Country of death:
Ukraine
Died where:
Ukraine
Occupation
before WW II:
Technician/engineer

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