Esphir Kalantyrskaya together with reposing Recreation home "Belaya dacha"

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I, Esphir Persova, at the resort in Kislovodsk in 1939.

I wasn't a Komsomol member and didn't take part in public life. But I had many friends: Jews, Russians and Ukrainians. Nobody cared about nationality at that time. To be a good person was sufficient.  My friends and I went to the cinema in Podol, to the beach and for walks. We always celebrated Soviet holidays: 1st of May, October Revolution Day, etc. We went to parades. Several times the factory trade union committee granted me a free trip to a recreation home. I rested at the Belaya Dacha recreation center in Irpen near Kiev. I felt very comfortable and equal to other young people staying there.  I also rested in Kislovodsk, Caucasus, and went to the sea.  I was there cured and reposed. There was much people from different 

cities of USSR, different nations. All well pertained to one another, 

was not no discords.

I still lived with my father and Sophia before WWII. Clara lived with her husband and Grigory went to the hostel. I could go to the hostel, too, but my father fell very ill.  He had cancer and was ill for a very long time suffering great pains. I couldn't leave Sopha alone with him. Father died in 1938. Sopha didn't remarry. 

In 1944 I went to work at the Kiev meat factory. They paid good salary. I had a difficult task to bring up Manya.  I realized that I wouldn't cope alone. I had met Grigory Kalantyrskiy a Jew before the war. He was ten years older than me and was at the war from first to last day. He had a wife (Lisa) and a daughter (Sima) before the war.  Lisa and Sima stayed in Kiev and shared the fate of thousands of Jews - perished in the Babiy Yar.  Grigory proposed  a marriage to me. I didn't love him at all, I didn't even like him, but I agreed. He was a butcher at the market, he earned a lot of money and he treated Manya and me well. I agreed for the sake of Manya who I loved with all my heart.  She loved me, too, and sometimes she called me "Mummy". In 1946 we registered our marriage. We didn't have a wedding party. My daughter Faina was born in 1947. There were four of us living in one room in Podol. 

I will soon turn 90. I am constantly thinking about the life I have lived. My daughter is at work and I am alone at home. I can't watch TV due to my poor sight. So, there is only one thing left for me to do; and that is - to think about the past. I have lived my life without love. Perhaps, it is not good. But what is love if it causes so much suffering  as it did to my mother and us.  

Interview details

Interviewee: Esphir Kalantyrskaya
Zhanna Litinskaya
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Kiev, Ukraine


Esphir Kalantyrskaya
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before WW II:
laborer at the shoe factory
after WW II:
laborer at the garment factory
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