Rosalia Goldenberg and her sister Maria Epstein

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My mother Rosalia Geftman is to the left, and her sister Maria Geftman is to the right.

The picture was taken in Sevastopol in 1905.

My mother Rosalia Geftman had 2 sisters and 4 brothers. Her sisters' names are Maria and Sarah, and her brothers' names are Joseph, Alexander, Grigoriy and Konstantin.

Mother Rosalia Geftman was born in 1885. She was a gifted musician, and played the grand piano very well. When mother finished lyceum, her parents sent her to Austria to study at conservatoire in Vienna.

At that time her sister Maria also lived in Vienna with her husband and child. Mother stayed with them for a while until their divorce. Then Maria and her child left for Sevastopol.

Mother moved to Berlin and kept on studying in Berlin conservatoire. She was as successful there as in Vienna. She was so deeply immersed in studies that her constitution deranged and she was afflicted with tuberculosis. She still managed to graduate from conservatoire.

Then she went to Northern Italy and treated her tuberculosis. She put on weight considerably and when she came back to Sevastopol she was not slender as she was before. But she still remained beautiful and liked to dress up.

Maria was born in 1883. Her fate was tragic. She was married to Rosendorf.

Their marriage was not successful. He appeared to be well-promising, but turned out to be lazybones, an eternal student. Grandparents tried helping him to be on the solid ground, and practically maintained the family, but their efforts were futile.

In 1910 Maria gave birth to a daughter and named her Vilgemina. Maria became deaf after parturition. She was sent to Austria with her husband.

Then her daughter and nanny followed them. Grandparents kept on providing for them. They lived together for some time, and then they divorced. It was a big tragedy for the entire family.

She came back home with her child. Her hearing partially came back. At the beginning of the first world war Maria's parents found a husband for her. She married a dentist, Isaac Epstein. He was a rather wealthy and decent man from Sevastopol. It was a prearranged marriage. He had a good five-room apartment in the heart of the city, with the sea view and two balconies.

They started living together in that apartment. Their marriage started very well, and terminated tragically. Maria and Isaac immigrated together. Isaac took their departure hard as well as the loss of all his property. Soon he died of rupture of heart, and again Maria was by herself with her daughter.

Before getting married she was very good at embroidery. She started embroidering in France to be to make a living for her daughter and her. She embroidered linen for fashionable saloons kept by wealthy Russian immigrants. Maria died in concentration camp in 1942 . During occupation Germans took her with the daughter to Germany as her neighbors told. I do not know what kind of camp it was. We do not know the story, whether it was somebody who disclosed her, or she was not able to shelter as she was deaf.

Interview details

Interviewee: Tamara-Alexandra Goldenberg
Svetlana Bogdanova
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Moscow, Russia


Rosalia Goldenberg
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after WW II
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Maria Epstein
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Manual laborer

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