Rachel Averbukh

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In this photo I am 2 years old. I’m wearing shoes that my father made for me. I’m 87 now, and don’t remember anything about having the picture taken.

I was born in 1915 in Pskov. I was the sole and favorite child in the family -- two twin boys died before I was born. From childhood I had a teacher from the synagogue in Pskov, who came to our home and taught me to read and write.

But he was an elderly man, and I didn’t like those lessons. I wanted to play, not study. For toys, I had one favorite knitted doll and a wonderful porcelain tea set for dolls. We had a grand piano at home, and I began to study piano when I was just a little girl.

In Pskov we lived in Arkhangelskaya Street. It was just a common unpaved street, along which there were wooden and brick houses where ordinary people lived. Our house had the usual furnishing -- wooden tables, buffets. Mom had a sewing machine, too, which she used often. Mom gave me the job of setting the table for dinner.

Every day I would cover the dining room table with a beautiful table cloth. Then I would ask Mom, what sort of dinner are we going to have today - dairy or meat? According to her answer I put out the right dishes.

Mom and Dad always and without fail prayed before meals. They would wash their hands, wash them in a bowl, and then rinse them with water from a jug three times on each side. They pronounced the blessing for the meal: "Borukh ato adoinoi eloheinu…"

After dinner the housemaid cleared the table and washed the dishes. I remember that Mom wouldn’t leave the kitchen -- she lost a part of her beauty in that kitchen! She did not trust the Russian housemaid – she was constantly afraid that she would break the rules of kashrut.

We didn’t hire Jewish housemaids, only Russian ones. I remember that apart of them, a laundress came to the house, and even a seamstress.

The laundress would wash our linen in our wash tub. Mom would tell me, "Rochole, take a tub and look how Darya washes, and wash your dolls’ dresses and your kerchiefs." The seamstress sewed all sorts of pants, shirts, underwear and linen for our family.

Interview details

Interviewee: Rachel Averbukh
Inna Gimila
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Saint Petersburg, Russia


Rachel Averbukh
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before WW II:
Schoolgirl, student
after WW II:
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  • Previous family name: 
    changed to Zarkhin
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  • Previous family name: 
    changed back to Averbukh
    Year of changing: 
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