Certificate of Motel Meilakhs's release from conscription

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  • Photo taken in:
    Rossosh
    Year when photo was taken:
    1945
    Country name at time of photo:
    USSR
    Country name today:
    Russia

This certificate of release from military service was given to me on the basis of the decision of a medical commission, because I had myopia -15, therefore I couldn't be called to the army and I was considered a ‘white card man.’ Several times during the war I was called up for medical examinations, but each time they confirmed my unsuitability for military service. I received this certificate in Rossosh. There I worked from 1945 until 1949. I lectured on the history of Ancient World and Middle Ages in the teachers institute. It was there that I defended my doctor's thesis ‘Entry of Italy into the First World War.’

In 1949 a commission from the regional party committee arrived and they attended my lectures together with the pro-rector Efremov, a remarkable man. After lectures they told Efremov that they were very pleased with my lectures. And at a meeting in the institute they declared that I advocated cosmopolitan ideas at my lectures, and demanded that I be dismissed. Nobody of the institute’s staff supported them. I decided to resign in order not to let anybody down, and return to Stepnyak.

At night two militiamen took me to the state security building, the KGB, where I was interrogated, and during the interrogation a guard comes in and says, ‘There are some people there that want to talk to you.’ The guard remained with me, and the chief of the KGB went out to these people. He returned in ten minutes and asked, ‘What shall I do with you?’ I was surprised to hear such a question and said, ‘Give me an opportunity to take my family, my wife and two small children to her parents.’ He answered, ‘I’ll do that, but you promise to leave in the morning!’ It turned out, those were my students who came and asked not to let me go away…. But he released me, and I left that very day. It was the only time when I was persecuted and dismissed as a cosmopolitan. I never had any conflicts whatsoever for being a Jew.

Interview details

Interviewee: Motel Meilakhs
Interviewer:
Inna Gimila
Month of interview:
October
Year of interview:
2001
St. Petersburg, Russia

KEY PERSON

Motel Meilakhs
Year of birth:
1909
City of birth:
Tyrlitsa, Monastyrischi district, Lipovetski region
Country name at time of birth:
Russia
Occupation
after WW II:
Teacher, historian

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