Photo taken in:KievYear when photo was taken:1916Country name at time of photo:USSRCountry name today:Ukraine
This is my mother (1892 - 1941) with her brother Misha in 1916, before her wedding.
My maternal grandfather, Berl (Boris) Slutsky came from Anatovka (I met this name only in literature, everyone called the place Ignatovka. I don’t know why people gave Anatovka the name of Ignatovka. Ignat is a Slavic name, Russian or Ukrainian. This is probably the reason for giving such a name to this plac). As Sholem-Aleichem’s character Tevye, whose family lived not far from Anatovka, my grandfather was a milkman. Grandma even told me that she had seen Sholem Aleichem and his wife, Olga Mikhailovna. Milkmen, as is well known, kept cows, produced sour cream and cottage cheese and sold their products at the market-place. Grandpa was not as sociable and talkative as Tevye. Once in 1919 Grandpa and his son Mikhul, my mother’s brother, loaded their carriage with goods and went to Kiev. As soon as they left Ignatovka, they were attacked by either local bandits or Petlyura bandit. There were two of them. They killed Grandpa and wounded Mikhul in the head. One of the bandits said: ‘They are still alive’. Mikhul lay there silently. The other one said: ‘Leave it, they’ll get finished off’. The bandits took the horse and the goods and left. Only Mikhul with Grandpa’s body remained on the road. When it got dark, he went to Anatovka and told everyone about what had happened.
After the robbery Mikhul had to undergo medical treatment for a long time, but remained disabled for the rest of his life and worked in commerce from then on. His wife Yeva Stolyarova came from Taraschi village, Kiev province. They got married in 1931 and had a wedding with a chuppah. Their elder son was born in 1932 and their younger son was born in 1938. They were in evacuation with both their children during the war. Uncle died in 1964 (he was born in 1894). Aunt Yeva died in the 1980s. Their elder son Boris is still alive and lives now in Israel. He called me recently.
Mother had a workshop with knitting machines (used for knitting stockings, socks, and theater tights) and a small store. A lot of interesting people came to the store. For instance in 1928 the famous actor Solomon Mikhoel and his wife visited us after their trip to America. He made orders for his theater. Since I went to a Jewish school, I could speak Yiddish to him as well answer questions which Solomon Mikhailovich asked me. I remember that encounter to this very day.
In the 1920-1930s both Mother and Father were handicraftsmen. Mother worked from home and Father joined a Cooperative Association of Blind People. He knocked up wooden cases and assembled switches. We lived in the center of the city – in Bessarabka, across the covered market. (The famous actor Mikhail Svetin also comes from this district. When I met him, I asked him: ‘Are you from Bessarabka?’ – ‘How did you know?’ I said: ‘I read about it in a book’).