These the stories that I heard from my father and mother, about their families and life in the Soviet Union.
With all the suffering that was imposed on people there, it was even harder on people of different ethnicity than Russians. Our roots are Jewish, and the Russians are notoriously anti-Semitic. But not all the suffering came from the regime or the bigots. We, humans, never learn. We hurt and we hurt others. Please read these stories and let me know what you take from them.
He awkwardly held a warm bundle, clutching his Red Army cap under the baby's bottom. He didn't see the wrinkled, red-faced child in front of him. In his mind, over and over again, he kept seeing his young wife, struggling to stay alive. Her beautiful face was swollen and inflamed, her body arching desperately as the seizures overtook her. And then, she lay lost, pale and empty. Yakov searched his heart for any tenderness toward the child in his arms, but all he could master, were the feelings of guilt and anger. The tall, handsome officer handed the baby to the nurse and quickly strode out of the maternity ward, his long army overcoat almost tripping him in the doorway. Three months later, still reeling from grief and all the blood he had shed, he'll write to his mother from the great Asian steppes, where he fought the enemies of the Soviet Union. He'll tell her about the death of his wife and about the baby who lay waiting in a small town hospital. Yakov couldn't know what the
Grandmother Velya came to claim the little girl and took her back to Moscow. She called her Rimka and Rimka called her Momma. For a long while they were happy just to be together.
|Dad's father's real name was Yakov. I changed it to|
keep from confusing my readers. He is
here with his wife, Hanah.
About a year ago, the family's 25 year old Russian helper, Daria, dropped a bomb: she was pregnant by 16 year old Lev. He confessed, in tears, but insisted that she seduced him. The family was
|Here is my dad's whole family in|
later years (excluding his brother, Samuel,
who disappeared in the WWII and father, who already died),
many years later. Dad is the third from the
left in the back raw.
|Lev as an adult|