Photo taken in:ChernovtsyYear when photo was taken:1996Country name at time of photo:UkraineCountry name today:Ukraine
This photo was taken at Hesed on the occasion of the first celebration of Purim in 1996 in Chernovtsy. My wife Ludmila Gitman (on the left) smiles sitting next to me. My first wife, Raissa, died of a disease in 1994. In 1995 I married for the second time. My wife, Ludmila Gitman [nee Artischeva], was born in the town of Chesny, Kazakhstan in 1932. Her family came from this town and she lived there before the war and for some time after the war. She graduated from the Kazakh Polytechnic University. She was a design engineer. Upon graduation, Ludmila lived and worked in Chernovtsy. We are pensioners now. My wife is Russian, but a few generations of her family have practiced Judaism. Her ancestors accepted Judaism back in the 17th century. Many Russian families converted to Judaism. It is hard to say why it happened so. My wife knows the Torah and Jewish traditions and rituals as well as I do. We have no children. Jewish life in Ukraine has livened up recently. Jewish public organizations have opened in Chernovtsy. Hesed provides assistance with food packages, medications, good medical care and so on. We also receive Jewish newspapers and magazines. I always read them with interest. There is a big library in Hesed. We also celebrate the Sabbath and all Jewish holidays there. At Purim there was a Purimshpil at the theater in Chernovtsy. My wife and I observe Jewish traditions. We fast on Yom Kippur. We celebrate Pesach, Rosh Hashanah and other holidays. I also take an active part in the activities of the Ghetto Inmates Association and the Association of Veterans of the Great Patriotic War. We put in order an abandoned Jewish cemetery in Chernovtsy. We search for the locations of mass shootings and the burial of Jews during the war to install monuments in these locations. The latest monument was inaugurated on Ukrainian Independence Day in the village of Mileyevo near Chernovtsy on 24th August 2002. Over 100 Jewish inhabitants of Mileyevo were killed there. We need to remember those who perished to keep further generations informed about the horrors of war. Let people remember and preserve peace on Earth.