Boris Vayman and his colleagues taking part in May demonstration

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  • Photo taken in:
    Leningrad
    Year when photo was taken:
    1960
    Country name at time of photo:
    USSR
    Country name today:
    Russia

This photograph taken in 1960 shows me and my colleagues. We used to take part in May demonstrations.

Certainly, I remember parades and holidays. On the 1st of May and on the 7th of November [state holidays in the USSR] we (together with my father) participated in demonstrations. [In the USSR demonstrations of many millions were usually organized during state holidays; people had to express their loyalty to the Soviet regime, demonstrate achievements.] It was my favorite occupation, I went on taking part in demonstrations till 1990s. It was especially pleasant to go on demonstration on the 1st of May when it was warm and sunny. People listened to radio broadcasting and sang cheerful songs. For instance, I remember the song about morning light that paints walls of the ancient Kremlin and wakens our glorious Moscow. That song was a necessary attribute of Soviet demonstrations.

I returned home and became a metalworker at the Krasny Treugolnik factory. [The Krasny Treugolnik factory produced rubber goods.] I came there on November 1, 1950.

I never discussed the question of emigration and never wished to emigrate: in this country nobody ever griped me, I had no conflicts with local authorities. I was a member of the USSR Communist Party. Probably I was not a 100-percent communist, but I really believed in the bright future. Nobody from my close friends emigrated. Some of my acquaintances left for the USA. I took their departure hard: I felt like a piece of my body broke away, but the idea of leaving never came into my head.

I came to the Krasny Treugolnik ['Red Triangle' in Russian] factory in 1950 and worked there till 1991 (until I retired on pension). At first I worked as a metalworker, then as a foreman, later I became a master and then a shift chief. Already being a factory worker, I finished the Leningrad Welding Technical School, and later the Technological College (faculty of the controlling and measuring apparatus). Naturally I was a part-time student.

I came across manifestation of anti-Semitism in 1953 (for the first and the only time in my life) during the time of Doctors' Plot. Our director liked to read aloud articles about the so-called doctors-murderers, and every time he came to me personally and invited me to listen. He insisted that I occupied one of the front seats and kept vigilant watch on me. I had to listen to those crazy articles, lampoons, and terrible dirt. Till now it is hard to recollect. His attitude to me affected my career. When I worked as a foreman, I was invited to become a head of rationalization department. It was a prestigious position, highly paid. There it was necessary to work with new projects; I liked it and wanted to be engaged in it very much. But the director rejected the suggestion. Later Stalin died and the dust settled. The only thing in my life affected by anti-Semitic laws and moods was my wish to go abroad for touring: of course they did not let me out. So first time I went abroad (to Yugoslavia) was in 1968. After that, touring became easier and I visited Austria and Italy.

I never chose friends according to their nationality. It was not important for me: I am an internationalist.

Interview details

Interviewee: Boris Vayman
Interviewer:
Kira Kuzmina
Month of interview:
April
Year of interview:
2007
St. Petersburg, Russia

KEY PERSON

Boris Vayman
Year of birth:
1926
City of birth:
Leningrad
Country name at time of birth:
USSR
Occupation
after WW II:
Metalworker

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