Photo taken in:RigaYear when photo was taken:1953Country name at time of photo:USSRCountry name today:Latvia
This is me. I turned 16 and I was about to receive my first passport. This photo was taken in Riga in 1953. After finishing the 10th grade I went to the Riga extramural textile affiliate of Moscow College. What I actually wanted was to go to the Philological Department at university to study English or psychology, but all of my adult acquaintances were telling me these were professions with uncertain perspectives that were not going to provide for a living. They were looking at things from practical perspectives. They were telling me that I had to get a practical profession, which could support and provide food in the future, and that this was the only right approach to choosing a profession. Therefore, I went to the textile college. I had academic leaves to take exams and worked the rest of the time. However strange it may seem, even in the 1950s the Jewish life in Riga was in full swing. I met some Jewish guys and girls and went to the synagogue with them. It wasn't that I was particularly looking for only Jewish friends, but I liked being among Jews. We could discuss Jewish topics and what concerned us freely. Whenever there was a non-Jew among us, we avoided these subjects. We didn't want to impose our problems on other people. There were also young people from mixed families among us. In my college I met a guy from Tallinn. His name was Moris Blumberg. He was visiting his aunt in Riga. I liked him. He was mature for his age. Moris studied at the Polytechnic Institute in Tallinn. He was 22 years old, but he already had a clear goal in life. However, what united us most of all was that we had much in common about the life we had had. His family was also deported from Kiev, and we had much in common. Both of us were children of enemies of the people. It somehow turned out that we could openly speak about what he had never told anyone. This brought us closer to one another. We corresponded a whole year. Moris often visited Riga. I remember how happy we were, when Khrushchev spoke at the 20th Party Congress saying that our resettlement was illegal and wrong. Khrushchev's speech was like a ray of light for us, and we were hoping that the hard times had passed. In 1960, when I was a 3rd-year student, we got married and I moved to Tallinn.