Busia Makalets with her husband Yevgeniy Makalets and her brothers

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This is me, my husband Yevgeniy Makalets and my brothers. This photo was taken  in Kishinev in 1947. From left to right: my husband Yevgeniy Makalets, my brother Mikhail Volok, my brother David's first wife Ida, my brother David Volok. Our family was photographed a year after our wedding. I am wearing an outfit, in which I sang in the Moldova choir.

When Kishinev was liberated in 1944, we went there with our Teachers’ Training College. On the first days of my stay there I bumped into our neighbor from Bolgrad, who told me that Mama and Papa were shot in 1941. I was a fifth-year student and we lived in a hostel. We often ran to the market to buy some food. In fall we liked ‘most’ – fresh grape juice. They made young wine from it and farmers were selling it in barrels.

One day my friend Lora Schlein and I bumped into Petre Scherban, her acquaintance. He knew that Lora had a high soprano and I had a contralto. He said that the Republican Radio Committee was organizing the ‘Moldova’ choir. Lora and I went for the audition. I sang a Moldovan song; singing a Jewish song was out of the question considering the times. I got a job and entered the Vocal Department in the Conservatory. My teacher was Professor Dolev, who taught Ognivtsev, a Soviet singer, soloist of the Bolshoy Theater. I noticed a young man in the choir. He was wearing a military uniform and sang in the tenor group. I asked my friend Liya Barladian, ‘Who is this guy whose eyes are burning like the eternal fire?’ and she replied, ‘He is a very gifted boy, very gifted! He studies at the Composer’s Department of the Conservatory.’ Well, this was my future husband Yevgeniy Makalets.

When I met Yevgeniy, I was renting a small room with a window in the ceiling. That was when I read a book about artists entitled ‘The attic of dreams.’ Shortly afterward we registered our marriage and my landlady allowed Yevgeniy to move into ‘the attic of dreams.’ I quit the conservatory and went to work as a music editor in the Radio Committee. Yevgeniy became a choir master of the ‘Moldova’ choir. After finishing the conservatory he became its artistic director. In the first years of our family life we changed apartments. We lived in a small kitchen. There was a door, but no windows. There were a few planks on the floor and the rest of it was ground. We also stayed with my mother-in-law for some time. We slept on a wooden couch in the kitchen. My mother-in-law gave us pillows. We were very poor. When my mother-in-law died, we rented a one-bedroom apartment where we had a sofa. In 1949 our daughter was born.

My brothers Mikhail and David and their families lived in Kishinev. They were accountants: Mikhail worked in a housing agency and David worked in a canteen.

Interview details

Interviewee: Busia Makalets
Nathalia Fomina
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Kishinev, Moldova


Busia Makalets
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after WW II:
Music editor in the Moldovan Radio committee
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Other Person

Mikhail Volok
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after WW II
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