A reference given to Motel Meilakhs on graduation from postgraduate courses

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  • Photo taken in:
    Kiev
    Year when photo was taken:
    1936
    Country name at time of photo:
    USSR
    Country name today:
    Ukraine

This reference is typed on a typewriter in the Ukrainian language. Two ‘headers’ in Russian and Hebrew and a bilingual seal below are visible. The text is as follows: ‘The reference is given to comrade Meilakhs Motel Avrumovich to certify that he has indeed completed a two-year course of post-graduate studies in the Institute of the Jewish Proletarian Culture of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, history department, with the right of defending a thesis in 1936-1937.’ 

The reference was given to me by the director of the institute, Gorokhov. The theme of my thesis was ‘History of anti-Semitism in the Middle Ages.’ It was approved for defense at the beginning of 1936, but I was arrested before that. During the search in our house NKVD employees lost it, but my father found it and hid it, afraid of a new search, in a firewood shed. It got wet from rain and is now in this condition. 

When I was arrested, investigator Borisov asked me: ‘Who executed the first Jewish pogroms in the Middle Ages?’ I answered: ‘Knights and peasants’. And he jumped from joy: ‘Oh, peasants? But this is a trotskist idea that peasants are a reactionary class!’ I could only smile, unable to say anything in response to this deep ignoramus.

Interview details

Interviewee: Motel Meilakhs
Interviewer:
Inna Gimila
Month of interview:
October
Year of interview:
2001
St. Petersburg, Russia

KEY PERSON

Motel Meilakhs
Year of birth:
1909
City of birth:
Tyrlitsa, Monastyrischi district, Lipovetski region
Country name at time of birth:
Russia
Occupation
after WW II:
Teacher, historian

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