Maria Zabozlaeva’s grandfather Abram Buch and aunt Rosa Kanailova

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My grandfather, Abram Buch and his daughter Rosa Kanailova (nee-Buch).  The picture was taken in Uralsk in 1927 on the occasion of arrival on a visit to relatives.

My maternal grandfather Abram Buch was born in Saratov in 1870s. My grandfather was strict and vicious. I would even call him despotic. He seemed to be unapproachable, but he really did love us.  He was a tailor: he made women's clothes. Grandfather Abram was a big handsome man with gray streaks in his hair. He always dressed like a dandy and wore a tolstovka where he had a watch in a small pocket with a thick golden chain hanging on his chest. He lived with grandmother Sophia and their children in a two-storied house in Cheluskintsy Street on the corner of Volskaya Street. At that time it was far from the center of the town. There was a house where actors of the drama theater resided. This house is still there. There were communal apartments in this house. My grandparents lived in one room where they had a bed, a wardrobe, an armchair and big table. There was a big sewing machine that was used to sew leather and thick woolen fabrics and a mannequin. In the kitchen they had a table, a kerosene stove and shelves for crockery. They had neighbors residing on the first floor - a Russian Christian family of the Victorovs and a Jewish family on the second floor. The name of the head of the family was Iosif Rys. He happened to be my future mother-in-law's brother. My grandparents got along with their neighbors very well.

I visited my grandmother at Chanukkah with a little bag on my chest where I put Chanukkah gelt that they gave me. Even now I give Chanukkah gelt to my grandchildren, even though I do not celebrate these holidays. I give them money in the memory of my grandmother and grandfather. I don't think grandfather Abram was not enthusiastic about the revolution of 1917 since the new regime expropriated his property. He was a tailor and owned a shop, as I imagine. His daughters also specialized in tailoring: Rosa made hats and my mother made dresses and suits. The family was moderately religious. I know little about them since we lived separately, but I remember that they fasted at Yom Kippur. They drank coffee with challah bread the night before and didn't have any food until the men returned from the synagogue when the first star appeared in the sky on the following day. Grandfather Abram died in 1942 and was buried at the men's section of the Jewish cemetery in Saratov.  I don't know whether he was buried in accordance with the Jewish tradition. My grandparents had seven children. They were born in Saratov.

My aunt Rosa was born in 1900s. Her husband Alexei Kanailov was Russian too. He was a Party official and worked as secretary of the regional Party committee. They lived in Leningrad [over 400 km from Moscow] before the war.  In 1942 they evacuated to Saratov and lived with us.  After the war they moved to Kaliningrad [900 km from Moscow]. They had four children. Their old daughter Ninel had a philological education. She worked as a librarian. She lives in Kaliningrad. Sophia, born in 1941, before the war I believe, lives in Tartu [today Estonia]. She worked as a teacher of mathematic at school. Now she is a pensioner. Sergei, born in 1936, lives in St. Petersburg. He finished the Polytechnic College in Kaliningrad and worked as chief construction engineer in Siberia for many years. Now he is consultant for the Union of entrepreneurs. There was another son named Valeri. He died in a car accident. 

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Interviewee: Maria Zabozlaeva
Saratov, Russia


Abram Buch
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Rosa Kanailova
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