Regina and Mikhail Shreiber

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These are my maternal grandparents, Regina and Mikhail Shreiber. The picture was taken when the family was living in Riga. Grandmother gave that picture to my mother when she got married. The blown-up picture is on the wall of my apartment. The picture was taken in Riga in 1906.

My mother’s family lived in Poland. They had three children. The eldest was my mother’s brother Illia. Then, in the 1890s my mother Polina and younger brother Voldemar were born. He was called Volush in the family. Then my mother’s family moved to Riga, Latvia. Mother and her brothers went to the Russian lyceum in Riga. The children grew up and my grandparents returned to Poland.

I remember that my maternal grandparents, the Shreibers, came to see us from Poland. They always brought our favorite German sweets by Georg Stude for my brother and me. It was famous German chocolate. I also remember small chocolate bars, which we called ‘Plättchen.’ They were very thin and melted in the mouth.

One day a terrible tragedy happened. My grandfather Shreiber died tragically. I was a little girl, even did not go to school yet. I do not remember the details. It was in Poland. He and Grandmother Regina were traveling by train and my grandfather went to the toilet. He told her that he would be back soon. Grandmother was waiting and waiting. All of a sudden the train stopped, even before it had reached a station. It turned out that Grandfather opened the wrong door and fell off the train. It resulted in his death. Then they started talking about suicide, but Grandmother did not believe that.

Mother went to Grandfather’s funeral in Poland, and came back together with Grandmother Regina. She lived in one room with me. I was bonded with her. Grandmother had asthma and she smoked Abyssinian cigarettes. I liked their aroma. I even wanted my grandmother to smoke. I loved her very much. One old lady often came to visit my grandmother and play cards. She was a Polish lady called Malchinskaya. I remember that my grandmother’s clothes were gorgeous.

Interview details

Interviewee: Ester Khanson
Ella Levitskaya
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Tallinn, Estonia


Regina Schreiber
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before WW II
before WW II:
Housewife, then German teacher

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Mikhail Schreiber
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