Bertha Jafet with her husband Rafail Jafet

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  • Photo taken in:
    Berlin
    Year when photo was taken:
    1921
    Country name at time of photo:
    Germany, 1870-1945
    Country name today:
    Germany

This is a picture of my mother Bertha and my father Rafail Jafet. It was taken in 1921 in Berlin.

My mother was born in 1893, same year as my father. She didn't work for some time after finishing the gymnasium. She went to Riga from Perm. In Riga she entered the university, but she didn't study there long. Shortly afterward she met my father. 

My father finished cheder and went to the Jewish school. He was good at trading since his early years. He started selling pencils, notebooks and other stationery; helping his parents and following his older brother's example. By 1918 he became a merchant of Guild I which gave him the right to reside in capital towns. He lived in Moscow. In the late 1910s my father met my future mother in Riga or in Moscow. This was the gloomy period of the Revolution, destruction and expropriation process, which resulted in poverty at best and at the worst it meant exile and death. Therefore, immediately after they got married - they didn't have a traditional Jewish wedding considering the hardships of this time - my parents moved to Berlin in 1920.

I don't know whether my father managed to take a part of his capital to Berlin, or whether my parents went there having nothing. One thing I know for sure is that in Berlin my father started his own business. Lithuania was devastated at that time. There were no essential goods or products being produced. Taking advantage of this situation, my father opened a small store in a little town near the German and Lithuanian border. My parents were doing well. At least I know that they managed to help their brothers and sisters. However, my parents, particularly Mama, missed their motherland. Since there was no threat of communist repressions, as Lithuania and Latvia became independent bourgeois countries, my parents moved to Kaunas in Lithuania in 1923

Interview details

Interviewee: Tobijas Jafetas
Interviewer:
Zhanna Litinskaya
Month of interview:
February
Year of interview:
2005
Kaunas, Lithuania

KEY PERSON

Bertha Jafet
Year of birth:
1893
City of birth:
Visginas
Country name at time of birth:
Russia
Year of death:
1944
City of death:
Kaunas
Country of death:
USSR
Died where:
military execution
Occupation
before WW II:
Housewife
Family names
  • Previous family name: 
    Shustoff
    Year of changing: 
    1920
    Reason for changing: 
    Marriage

Other Person

Rafail Jafet
Year of birth:
1893
City of birth:
Raseiniai
Country name at time of birth:
Lithuania
Year of death:
1970
City of death:
London
Country of death:
United Kingdom
Died:
after WW II
Died where:
London
Occupation
before WW II:
Merchant of Guild I
after WW II:
Businessman

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