Photo taken in:LeningradYear when photo was taken:1940Country name at time of photo:USSRCountry name today:Russia
My brother Yosif Pan as a student. The photo was made in 1940 in Leningrad. I was born when my mother was 29. My brother Yosif was 7 and had just started going to school. We lived in downtown Kiev, at 49, Krasnoarmeyskaya Street. Seven not-related neighbor families lived in this once rich seven-room flat in 1926. Every family had a room, and they shared kitchen, bathroom and toilet. Every family consisted of at least 4-5 people. In our small room we were four. Later we made two small rooms of this one room. Our neighbors were Russian, Ukrainian, and Jewish. At the end of 1944, unexpectedly for the whole family, my older brother Yosif married a Russian woman. He spent the war serving as an officer at the Northern Navy; was a trawler, led military transportation vessels across mine fields. He married a woman from his ship crew The family did not take the fact that she was older than him as painfully as the fact that she was Russian. Unlike the pre-war times that I have already described, this fact was taken very negatively. My mother said then that if it were before the war, she would not mind a mixed marriage with a Gentile, but the war tragedy, which we did not call Holocaust yet, left an impact on her understanding, and she was afraid of mixed marriages. Anyway, my brother's marriage was recognized. However, in 1960?s, my brother Yosif came home from the army. By the way, after the end of the war, he received the second higher education - he graduated from the Higher Military Engineer Academy in Leningrad. After coming back to Kiev he found a job at the military plant, where he worked at a very high office until his death in 1981. He could not register his sons, Vova and Boris, as Russians, because he divorced his first wife, who was Russian, and married a Jewish woman. But, being an optimist, he believed his boys would find their ways in this life somehow.