Tamara Goldenberg with her mother Rosalia Goldenberg

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    Russia, 1917-1921
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This is me with my mother Rosalia Goldenberg.

The picture was taken in Sevastopol in 1919.

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.

Then 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.

I do not know how my parents met. I think, it was a prearranged marriage, though a love wedlock.

They got married in 1914. My mother's parents were religious, and I think their wedding was in accordance with all Jewish rites. They both were very successful and educated young people. Parents recently came back from Europe.

Father was in France, then went to Kazan. He also worked in Saint-Petersburg. Mother studied in Germany. The honey-mooners went to Paris to father's uncle Michel. Father was to improve his knowledge in medicine in France. But his plan remained unrealized as the first world war was unleashed.

Parents came back to Simferopol. He was in the army in Caucasus military field and in 1915 the 10th army. He was demobilized in 1916, and in Batoumi [about 1600 km to the south from Moscow], he got ill. He had a problem with his legs, and there he was treated with therapeutic mud. Only in 1917 father came back home and my parents could feel themselves a family.

They settled in Sevastopol. Father began to work in the venereal department of the hospital. Then he established a hospital for treatment of venereal diseases. He did a lot in that field and also worked as a advisor for the institute of physical therapy. Father was a remarkable expert in that field. There was also a school by his department. A lot of qualified experts came from that school. Father was highly appreciated and loved.

Mother did not continue her musical career. She became a housewife, creating a hearth at home for my father.

I was born in 1917. My true name is Tamara -Alexandrà. I was named Tamara at birth. My mother's brother Alexander Geftman tragically perished in 1918 shortly after my birth.

After that tragedy I was given a double name Tamara - Alexandrà, and this is my original name, written in the documents. People call me Tamara. I did not go to the kindergarten, at that time they did not exist. We had a house-keeper. Mother was a home-maker. She had lots of things to do so she would not have time to think of earning her bread and butter.

In 1917 my maternal grandfather Pincus Geftman immigrated with his family. All Geftmans left, but my mother. My relatives did not approve of revolution.

My parents refused to leave the motherland. They thought that such educated and prosperous people would do well in Soviet Russia, and besides he did not want to sever with his relatives. He also was sure that the doctor of such a level would always be in demand no matter who was wielding the scepter.

Our live was not all beer and skittles. First of all these were the times of starvation and drought in the country, and the salary of my father was very skimpy no matter how well-qualified my father was.

His salary was not enough to make a living, and mother tried real hard to feed us. She sold some of the things left by our relatives in the commissioner shops or swapped them in the market for food.

Interview details

Interviewee: Tamara-Alexandra Goldenberg
Svetlana Bogdanova
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Moscow, Russia


Tamara-Alexandra Goldenberg
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before WW II:
University student
after WW II:

Other Person

Rosalia Goldenberg
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after WW II
before WW II:
after WW II:
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