Tamara Goldenberg in her flat

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  • Photo taken in:
    Moscow
    Year when photo was taken:
    1980
    Country name at time of photo:
    USSR
    Country name today:
    Russia

This is me. The picture was made in my flat in Moscow in 1980.

In 1938 I was offered a job in French chair of Moscow Foreign Languages Institute, I graduated from. It took pains to be lodged in the institute hostel. The hostel looked like a wooden barrack, located in the outskirts of Moscow.

Then I decided to move my mother to Moscow from Sevastopol. Mother stayed by me the whole time. She shared all my tribulation and worries. We survived war in the hostel, and it always was easier for me as my dear person was close to me.

We had lived in the hostel with one shower on the floor and toilet, at the end of the corridor, one common kitchen with two gas cookers, cockroaches and rats until 1977. The apartment I have was bought from our institutes’ cooperative in 1977.

It took us many years to save money for that apartment. I remained in the institute until 1977. Then I got unwell and retired. My mother had a long life, 103 years. She was the only one in her kin, who lived so long. She died in 1988.

I never gave up teaching. I taught French and practical French grammar. It was a difficult job. I would not wish anybody such a job. I worked as a senior teacher, and my salary was inconsiderable increased. I was very happy to make two useful things during my pedagogical career.

We did not have French textbooks. We had to publish our own. I along with the coauthor prepared student manual with exercises for the French department and French Grammar textbook. Those books were used for quite a while. Then there were couple of editions for our students to be provided with the manuals.

We received rather skimpy emolument for such work, but the pleasure was entirely ours. We did a good job that made teachers' and students' lives easier. I began to work with post-graduate students.

They were very different- gifted and totally without penchants. Some people from province also referred to our institute. They came to improve qualification without being prepared. Some of them were more capable, others were totally incapable.

Of course, It took a lot of time to have classes with them. A number of those teachers intending to refresh their knowledge, became post-graduate students, wrote dissertations and defended them. Some of them were seeking even doctorate. So, I was satisfied with my job.

It was difficult for me hold lectures. I did not enjoy it at all! The team of our teachers was very friendly. We lived like one family, being there for each other assisting and encouraging.

Our life was difficult and joyless. I used to get ill very often, my mother was constantly unwell. I kept late hours at work, had classes with my students ,but still we could hardly make a living.

Mother took care of the household, cooked, cleaned and went shopping. I still remained modest and shy, did not want to be a burden to anybody. We lived modestly, did not have any guests or receptions. I remained in the institute until 1977. Then I got unwell and retired.

Interview details

Interviewee: Tamara-Alexandra Goldenberg
Interviewer:
Svetlana Bogdanova
Month of interview:
November
Year of interview:
2004
Moscow, Russia

KEY PERSON

Tamara-Alexandra Goldenberg
Jewish name:
Tamara
Year of birth:
1917
Decade of birth:
1910
City of birth:
Sevastopol
Country name at time of birth:
Russia
Occupation
before WW II:
University student
after WW II:
Teacher/Professor

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