Photo taken in:UzhgorodYear when photo was taken:1999Country name at time of photo:UkraineCountry name today:Ukraine
This is a picture of my wife Ludmila Gurevich. The photo was taken for a Ukrainian passport in Uzhgorod in 1999. I got a job assignment at an alcohol factory in Lvov region in 1950. I became chief mechanic and then chief engineer at this factory. I met my future wife, Ludmila Volosova, in Lvov. She came to work in Lvov upon her graduation from Odessa Food Industry Technical School. Most of our friends were Jews that came from the USSR. It just happened so. We spent vacations with friends. Sometimes we went to the Crimea or the Carpathian mountains. On every vacation we visited my father, my brother and my wife's parents. My wife and I have lived a good life together. In 2000 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our wedding. Unfortunately, we have no children. In the 1970s Jews began to move to Israel. I didn't blame those people, but we never considered departure. I had a job that I liked and we have a lot of friends. I've never faced any anti-Semitism. Ukraine is my motherland. The history of Ukraine is as close to me as Jewish history. Besides, my wife isn't Jewish and I was afraid of prejudice towards her in Israel. Maybe I was wrong, but it's too late to think about it now. Many of my friends and acquaintances left in the 1970s or sometime later. We've been in touch. They have a good life in Israel. Some of them have passed away already. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the Communist Party of the USSR ceased to exist, and I automatically stopped being its member. Ukraine is different now. It's hard to say how things will develop. The mentality of the people has to change. It's not that easy. Every individual must develop his personality now, while we were always taught that a person is nothing without a collective. Every individual must do his work honestly to have a positive effect. The attitude towards Jews has changed. I think there is no anti-Semitism on a state level. It happens in everyday life, but not as often as it used to happen, and is demonstrated by older people. Young people probably don't know what it is about. Young Jews have no problem entering a higher educational institution or getting a job. It's a person's skills that count and nationality doesn't matter. Jews can openly go to the synagogue and observe Jewish traditions. Young people are proud of their origin. I've seen many such examples among the children or grandchildren of my acquaintances. The Jewish way of life has revived. Young people get closer to religion and Jewish traditions. I think one can see more young people in synagogues nowadays. Hesed was established in Uzhgorod in 1999. This organization does a lot to revive Jewish life. They also take care of old Jewish people. Unfortunately I'm in no condition to go to the synagogue or Hesed. I would be very interested to meet people and attend various activities. I like reading Jewish newspapers. Volunteers from Hesed bring them to me. I know more about Jewish traditions and holidays now. I wish I had been raised in a family where Yiddish was spoken. My wife and I have had heart attacks and my wife has also had a stroke. Hesed employees clean our apartment, do the laundry and bring food and medication. We have small pensions and this is a big support for us. We are very grateful to them.