Lev Gershenzon at the parade

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My husband Lev Gershenzon, photographed at the parade on 7 November 1973 with the students of his school. This photo was taken in Mogilyov-Podolskiy.

I met my second husband Lev Gershenzon, his Jewish name is Leib, when I was on vacation in Mogilyov-Podolskiy. He was a teacher of chemistry at an evening school. Lev was born in 1914 in Shargorod town of Vinnitsa region [about 350 km from Kiev]. He finished the rabfak with honors and was sent to the Chemical Faculty of Odessa University. He lived in the dormitory. To earn his living he unloaded railcars at night. Lev finished his college with honors and got a job assignment to work as a teacher of chemistry and biology in the Jewish general education school in Chernivtsy Vinnitsa region [about 300 km from Kiev] where he married a local Jewish girl. In 1938 their daughter Sophia was born. The Jewish school of Chernivtsy was closed after the war in 1945. Lev and his family moved to Mogilyov-Podolskiy, where he went to work as a teacher of chemistry and biology in a Ukrainian general education and evening schools. Lev was highly valued at work. In 1947 his son Mikhail was born in Mogilyov-Podolskiy. In the late 1950s doctors discovered that his wife had cancer. She had a surgery, but it didn't help. She died in 1960. When I met Lev, he lived alone. After finishing the Medical College his daughter got married. She and her husband moved to Balashikha town near Moscow. She worked as a doctor in a hospital and her husband was an engineer at a construction site. His son got married after finishing his college and stayed to live in Krasnodar.

I returned to Chernovtsy. Lev and I corresponded. When I came to Mogilyov on another vacation we got married. We were no young any more and we didn't have a wedding party. We registered our marriage and had a small dinner in the evening. Our guests were my sister and he husband and my husband's few friends. I exchanged my room in Chernovtsy for lodging in Mogilyov-Podolskiy, and moved there in 1983. In Mogilyov-Podolskiy I went to work as a lab assistant at the quality assurance laboratory of the agricultural machine building plant and from there I retired in 1993. We didn't celebrated Jewish holidays. We celebrated Soviet holidays at home: 1 May, 7 November Soviet army Day, Victory Day, and New Year. We had guests at home and visited friends. My husband's friends were his colleagues from school. His former students who remembered their teacher came to see him. Lev worked at school till 2002. He had turned over his retirement age, but he did not want to quit his job. In 2002 a car hit my husband. He had a craniocerebral trauma and he could work no longer. My husband or I have no relatives in Mogilyov-Podolskiy.

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Interviewee: Bluma Katz
Ella Levitskaya
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Mogilyov-Podolskiy, Ukraine


Lev Gershenzon
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