|THE CENTROPA INTERVIEW|
Vladimir RabinovichCountry: Latvia
|In 1976, my father, Isaak Moiseevich Rabinovich, made a sketch of his paternal family tree. His family took root in Kraslava, in east Latvia. The family settled there at the end of the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th century, when Zalman Rabinovich was invited to become the local rabbi. According to some family legends, he had been living in Odessa before that. |
By the middle of 19th century, two sons of Zalman Rabinovich lived in Kraslava – Abram-Tuvia (Tobias) and Samuil. That was the time of the progressive Jewish movement known as Haskalah. Both sons were extremely devoted to education, knowledge and the study of secular sciences. They no longer adhered to traditional Jewish religion. However, they observed all community norms and rules to a certain extent. Samuil was the more-educated of the brothers. He vigorously studied the Russian language, civil rules and legal standards, especially property issues. There is no information confirming that he studied in any special educational institutions. He seems to have passed examinations and became a private attorney, and in the end the 1870s or the beginning of the 1880s, he became a representative of a private financial establishment in Kraslava called the Russian Insurance Company. He represented that company on all kinds of insurance activity. He was extremely proud of his position. And for his honest, zealous service in that company, he was awarded honorary diplomas and service badges. One badge marked his 20th anniversary in service, and another, the 25th. The badges say he began working for the company in 1887.
All these family relics were kept by my father’s cousin in Leningrad, who was very devoted to family traditions. In our uneasy century, she managed to keep them, and gave them to me.
Kraslava was Count Plater’s family estate. The Platers attracted Jews to the area, both for trade and for crafts. They treated Jews very well and were very loyal. It seems that Zalman Rabinovich received the invitation to come to Kraslava from the Platers. Samuil was on rather close terms with Count Plater in his insurance and legal business and used to carry out his various assignments. Count Plater gave Samuil a signet ring, which I have now, for service in the Russian Insurance Company.
Samuil and Tobias were successful, and the local Jewish community wanted large payments from them to help support the community. There were a lot of needy people in Kraslava who wanted their financial support. But the brothers considered it burdensome. With the help of friends, their family left the Kraslava Jewish religious community and formed their own religious community, as was typical and widespread in those times. It was a small community, which entered Kraslava history under this very name. Within the family, they were oriented to knowledge, education – all progressive and advanced tendencies in the European and Russian science.
Samuil Rabinovich is my great-grandfather on mother’s line. The marriage of my grandfather and my grandmother was a marriage between family members. Both brothers – Tobias and Samuil – are my great-grandfathers. Tobias’s son, my grandfather, Moisei Rabinovich, married his cousin Masha Rabinovich, Samuil’s daughter. Tobias, as far as I know, had various trade enterprises in Kraslava. Owing to the family’s immersion in Russian culture, Russian was the language of everyday communication, although, of course, Yiddish was known, and was kept up by the wives.
Tobias married Blyuma Berkovich from Shlok. A traditional Jewish community settled in Shlok after all sorts of restrictions had been placed on Jews in Riga. Blyuma was famous in the family chronicle as a vigorous and dashing woman. Some stories of a comic nature survived to this day. Once, shopping at the Kraslava market place, Blyuma noticed someone selling a high-quality sour cream at a very reasonable price. She didn’t have suitable utensils with her. But she wanted to buy that sour cream, and potters were selling some utensils that resembled chamber-pots. She bought some of those pots, rinsed them right there, and bought the sour cream. When she brought the cream home, her family bluntly refused to eat from those pots.
Tobias and Blyuma had five children, four sons and a daughter. One son was my grandfather Moisei, who became mayor of Kraslava. Before the tragic events of 1941, his sister Shterna, to whom he was close, also lived in Kraslava. Solomon, the eldest of the sons, was a dentist and had a successful practice in Riga. In the 1920s, he was elected chairman of Riga’s Jewish Dental Surgery Society. I read his obituary. He was rather well known in Riga because of his medical and public activity. One son, Isaak, had died early. In the beginning of the century, when inflammation was a serious disease and surgical intervention was considered risky, he died of appendicitis in St. Petersburg. I have no information about Tobias’s son Meyer.
Samuil also had four daughters and two sons. Samuil was married to a girl from the Grodzensky family named Zelda, from a Lithuanian borough called Kalvaria. She was from a rather intellectual environment. Samuil’s daughters were particularly intelligent. All of them married and gave birth to outstanding children. Masha married a cousin, Tobias’s son, Moisei. They are my grandparents.
Her sister Shifra (Serafima) married Moisei Botvinnik, who was not from Kraslava, but from the same region. They had two sons. One of them, Michael, became the chess champion of the world. They lived in Petrograd most of the time, and it is there that the chess genius of Michael Botvinnik developed. In 1920s and 1930s, Grandfather was closest to his relatives who had settled in Petrograd even before the World War I. The correspondence between Grandmother Masha and Serafima was regular. Michael Botvinnik then was studying to become an electrical engineer. Among his teachers was a professor of geometry, from a family of Armenian descent, who had a rather attractive daughter, Ganna (Gayane Davidovna), a student at the Vaganov ballet school.
The repressions of the 1930s did not touch my Leningrad relatives. The daughter of the great chess player, Olga, lives in Moscow now. She was born in the summer of 1941. They literally managed to leave Leningrad on the last train. She graduated from the Moscow Power Institute, specializing in computer science and computer devices. She married a good Russian man named Fioshkin, an engineer, and they have two children, Yura and Lena. And these children also have children. I used to visit them, and they came to Riga several times. Now our contacts are less frequent. I know Olga very well, but I do not have direct contacts with her children any more.
Another of Samuil’s daughters, Bella, married Solomon Konnikov. Their daughter Ida became the main archivist of our family and, thanks to her, plenty of relics survived: photos, family silver, Samuil’s memorabilia. Sophia, another of Samuil’s daughters, was the grandmother of one of our prominent public figures – Alexander Bergman, the lawyer. Samuil’s son Alexander married a girl from the Adelberg family, which owned a large bookshop in Daugavpils (Dvinsk). Their daughter, Lia Alexandrovna, married a man named Gromov and left for the United States. We write to each other constantly. She has two sons – Vladimir and Michael. Michael Gromov, the son of Lia Alexandrovna, is a mathematician, a member of the French Academy, and lives in Paris.
My grandfather on my father’s side was Moisei Rabinovich, Tobias’s son. He was born in 1883. He received a double name Moisei-Abram Rabinovich. But he is known as Moisei. Father’s parents, Moisei and Masha, got married under a chuppah, I think. They lived in Kraslava. Father, the first son, was born in 1911. He was named in honor of grandfather’s brother. In 1923, their second son Samuil-Alexander was born. At that time, educated people did not try to emphasize Jewish traditions, so he was named Alexander.
Moisei was known for his commitment to education and patriotism, love to his native city. In their house they had a large collection of Russian educational literature, in particular the Pavlenkov Library, all sorts of enlightening editions, which Moisei digested and studied in the most steadfast way. He tried to obtain knowledge in both natural and humanitarian sciences. Because of his desire to help his compatriots, he chose the pharmaceutical business as his profession. It was a popular field of business for many natives of the Lithuanian and Vitebsk territories. The position of pharmacist required a higher education, a diploma of a medical faculty. It was possible to become an assistant pharmacist if you prepared for examinations independently. This is what Moisei Rabinovich did. I suppose he passed the exam in the Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg.
Thanks to Count Plater, a power station was built in Kraslava in the 1910s to illuminate the streets. Moisei Rabinovich was one of the managers of that municipal power station. He possessed enough knowledge of natural sciences and sufficient experience to manage it.
During the World War I, when population was evacuated to the central Russia, Grandfather Samuil moved to his family, and the family relics, in Petrograd. In 1917-1918, they again moved to Kraslava. At that time, industrial equipment had been transported deep into Russian territory, lest it be seized by Germans. Moisei followed the power station to Oryol region. You see, Kraslava stood on the route of the famous Riga-Oryol railway, which was an important economic line.
In 1990, I started to study the files of the Kraslava city administration in the Latvian historical archive. That is how I learned what happened with Grandfather Moisei, from approximately 1920. My father’s family returned from Oryol to Kraslava in May or June 1921. They immediately found that the city was dominated by members of the Polish community, who were partly supported by Count Plater. Although the Plater family acknowledged its Polish origins, the family believed it was rather indirect. In 1921, it appeared that Moisei Rabinovich was the most authoritative representative, by any historical standards, of the Jewish community in Kraslava, a powerful and important public figure in the eyes of the numerous national groups. So he was put forward for municipal activity from the moment he returned to Kraslava, when local self-management was being restored. Kraslava didn’t have the status of a city, but the uncertain status of a borough. Moisei was elected a member of municipal administration and started to handle all the complex issues of municipal economy. From the summer of 1921 until the autumn of 1932, he was a member of Kraslava’s municipal administration. He first was vice-mayor; later, he was the mayor. For 11 years, his life was wholly and completely connected with municipal self-management. The year 1932, if I can say so, was an anticipation of the state coup of 1934, which took place in Kraslava. In autumn of 1932, the elected city council decided that Moisei did not have the proper influence with the central authorities in Riga, and thus generous financing didn’t materialize, and it was necessary to select another head of the city. So he was discharged.
Before the Soviet times, Moisei led a private life. He returned to the pharmaceutical business in the Soviet times. He was appointed the manager of a drugstore in a small town of Ezernieki, near Kraslava, where he died. Moisei, Masha and their son Samuil Alexander were killed in 1941.
What are the brightest moments in the activity of Moisei Rabinovich in his public post? Immediately after assuming office in 1921, he was assigned, as a man known for his honesty and skill in financial affairs, a supervisor of all municipal finance. Moisei put forward the initiative for Kraslava to obtain the status of a city. And he had submitted that initiative to the authorities in the first days of 1922. He wrote a report for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with his proposal that Kraslava get the status of a city. That hand-written report is in the state archive. His initiative was supported by the then prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, Zigfrid Meyerovits, who gave the green light to the initiative. One of the first decrees of President Yanis Chakste in 1923 was to confirm Kraslava’s status as a city. Grandfather is said to have put forward the idea of creation of Kraslava city emblem – a boat with five oars, symbolizing the five basic national groups of Kraslava: Jews, Poles, Russians, Latvians and Belorussians. Moisei was a proponent of electrification and put his greatest efforts toward two things – the Kraslava power station and the work of public schools under supervision of municipal government. He entered into discussion of problems of the Jewish school, when Yanis Rainis, the Latvian poet, became the minister of education of Latvia. The two men had certain differences of opinion, but they also reached agreements.
My grandfather was an educated man; therefore he didn’t find it appropriate to go to synagogue or observe the fast. He had moved rather far from the traditional Jewish religious principles. I have no such information, but, maybe, his wife adhered to some Jewish traditions. They were honest people and therefore lived with difficulties and sometimes even poorly. And that poor life prevented them from strict following of Jewish traditions.
My father, Isaak Moiseevich Rabinovich, finished the Kraslava grammar school in 1927. He was under a very strong psychological influence of his father, but they had certain problems in their relations. In 1927, Father entered the mechanical faculty of the Latvian University in Riga. And under the influence of his father, he chose the profession of practical engineering. But he graduated not from physical and mathematical faculty, but from mechanical, and as late as 1945! My father had public activities, like Grandfather. From the beginning of the 1930s he worked in the Bund in Riga. He did not join leftist radicals or the underground Komsomol groups, but was oriented toward the social-democratic movement, Bund. He was an active member of the Bund students’ social-democratic union "Tsukunft." He was an active worker for hospital mutual aid funds, was a bookkeeper and auditor. Father was the coordinator of a successful strike of retail trade workers in 1933, which is known as the “Yakhnin conflict." That strike succeeded because of the workers’ solidarity. They forced the shop owners to increase workers’ wages. Father was punished for his activity. During the revolution in Latvia in May 1934, he was among the people who were subjected to security arrest. Along with many social-democratic workers, he was jailed in Central Prison for about three months. He was released on condition that he sign a statement obliging him to quit public activity. My father signed. When his imprisonment ended, he put aside his student’s exemption and served his term in the Latvian army. His studies at the university advanced very slowly. In the end of 1937, he left the army and became a private teacher of mathematics. The demand for private tutors was probably connected to the decisions of the Karlis Ulmanis government, which required that students pass examinations in the Latvian language to obtain a secondary school certificate. Father knew Russian and Latvian. He became a highly demanded teacher of mathematics. He earned good money from 1937 through 1939 by preparing students for examinations in the Latvian language. Father told me that in that period they met in a narrow circle to study Marxist literature and, in particular, the works by Plekhanov.
When he studied at the faculty of physics and mathematics at the university, he made many friends. He became acquainted with Vladimir Feigman, the son of the auditor of the Ministry of Finance. The man was from a Russian-Lithuanian-Latvian family. My mother, Dora (Dvoira) Alperovich, and my father met because they were in Feigman’s circle. It is a romantic story! Vladimir Feigman took a great interest in photography, and his friends helped him develop snapshots. My mother and father became acquainted in a blacked-out room, printing photos, in the autumn of 1939. Mother had been on a short trip to Paris to visit some friends. The trip was suddenly interrupted by the beginning of World War II. It was only with the help of the Latvian Consulate in Paris that she managed to escape from France in the autumn of 1939. It was a happy turn of events, good luck for her.
Mother was born in 1912 in a small Belorussian town, Postavy. She studied economics by herself. When she was older, she used to reproach herself saying that she didn’t have the persistence to acquire a diploma. By character, she was more of a family woman, a housewife.
My parents got married rather quickly – on the eve of the new year of 1940. Their marriage was officially registered by Latvian state. Mother sometimes recalled that her family, especially my grandfather Ber Alperovich, was quite religious. In his youth, he received an advanced Jewish religious education, and he zealously adhered to traditions. To please her parents, Father agreed to undergo some kind of procedure that corresponds to the Jewish religious marriage. He was skeptical of any and all religious traditions, including Jewish ones. But after the events of summer 1940, his professional business underwent changes, and Father became more or less tolerant of all that. He was about to graduate, was in his last year in the university, and simultaneously he got a job teaching the preparatory courses at the university.
I know nothing about my grandfather and grandmother on Mother’s side. Mother’s family language was Yiddish. There were three sisters and three brothers. It was a famous family here in Riga. Ber Alperovich, Mother’s father, was known in the Russian way – Boris Alperovich. Grandmother Tsipe Alperovich was from Yakobshtat. The family legend says that when Grandfather Ber was traveling as a salesman in the region of Kurlandia, Kovensky province, he once came to Yakobshtat and saw a very healthy, plump girl with bright pink cheeks. He thought, “This girl is exactly what I want for my wife.” And she became his wife. In the 1920s, and especially in the 1930s, Grandmother suffered from diabetes and was sent once a year for a one-month treatment in Bikur Holim in Riga.
Their family was very large. Grandmother was evacuated with all her family and died in Kirov (Vyatka) region, where I was born. She died one month after my birth. My grandfather returned from evacuation and is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Shmerly.
The whole Alperovich family had its roots in a Polish-Belorussian town of Postavy. The older brother, Ovsei Alperovich, settled in Riga in the beginning of the 20th century. In the early 1920s, during an economic upsurge, three Alperovich brothers had settled in Riga – Ovsei, Ber and Natan. They decided to organize a joint venture – a small wholesale company to supply flour and other necessities to bakeries. Small private bakeries were a rather widespread phenomenon in all of Latvia. And that firm was called Abonat, the abbreviation from names of three brothers – Ovsei, Boris, Natan.
Most of the kin of Ovsei and Natan were victims of fascism. Natan’s entire family perished. Ovsei’s daughter, Tatiana Ovseievna Mikelson, managed to evacuate. Mother was especially close with that family. Tatiana was 10 years older then Mother. A native of Riga, she guided Mother through Riga’s life, Riga’s customs.
Mother’s name was Dvoira, but under the German-Russian influence, she was registered as Dora in the official documents. Mother is the eldest sister. She received a secondary education in a grammar school in Riga where the training was in Yiddish. The director of that school was Isaak Bers, a rather active figure of social-democratic movement, loyal to the Latvian republic. Such liberal spirit was characteristic of that grammar school, where the representatives of democratic Jewish circles of Riga studied. The school was in Gertrudes Street. Mother and her sister Lia had numerous acquaintances from that school. Mother finished grammar school in the beginning of the 1930s. Mother worked in Abonat as a shop assistant and kept business documents. In that practical way, she became a qualified bookkeeper.
Lia graduated from the Latvian conservatory in the Latvian time, in the 1930s. Her first husband’s family name was Vulfson; her second spouse’s name was Churilin. From the first marriage, she had a daughter named Kira; from the second, a daughter Alla. In the Soviet period, Lia was a very good concertmaster, but she lost her hearing and retired early. She now lives in Israel. The third sister was Reisen (Rose). She died in Israel. Naum, Mother’s older brother, died in the war in 1943.
Her second brother, Vulf (1904-1976), received his education at the Latvian University, and then the faculty of law, from which he graduated in 1935. Vulf Alperovich got married in 1949 to his close friend from pre-war times Eida Isaevna (nee Berkovich). She has her own story. She was married to Iosif Peretsman, one of our Riga acquaintances, a famous Jewish Komsomol leader, who in the beginning of the 1930s set off to build the city of Birobidzhan with a group of Jewish Komsomol members. He was the editor of a Komsomol newspaper there, but in 1937, under the pressure of the Stalinist persecutions, he was arrested and perished. His wife seized their son and fled from Birobidzhan, through all Siberia, and reached her brother in Leningrad. In 1945, when her former husband disappeared, she turned up in Riga and met Vulf Borisovich. She was a really beautiful and stately woman. They got married.
Mother’s younger brother, Grisha, Grigory (Girsh), received an education in textiles industries engineering. He went especially for that purpose to Brno, Slovakia, and with that specialty got a very good position in Riga. Oriented toward a secular environment, Grisha wanted the family to live in a prestigious apartment. His sisters were grown girls by that time, and he was convinced that a prestigious apartment would attract the young people and facilitate the girls’ chances for successful marriages. He filed lots of requests with the manager of one fashionable house at 40 Brivibas Street, convincing him to lease a rather large and convenient apartment to the family. Around 1935, the family moved to that apartment, which had five rooms and a room for maids, near the kitchen. They had a maid the whole time Mother’s family lived in 40 Brivibas Street. Vulf and Grigory Borisovich were single.
Then the war began. Our family was lucky to evacuate to Russia on June 27, 1941, to the city of Kirov, where a lot of trains with refugees from Latvia were going. Mother was pregnant with me then. We were assigned to the village of Uni, far from the railway line. I was born there in November 1941. Father was given a position of mathematics teacher in the local school. In August, Latvian military regiments were being formed. All men were sent to those Gorohovetski camps, where Latvian rifle battalions were formed. Father was in artillery, was given a rank of senior sergeant and assigned the specialty of a military topographer. He participated in all the battles in which the Latvian division took part, in famous Narofominsk fights. In the spring of 1942 he found himself in Staraya Russa, where conditions were very harsh and the soldiers didn’t have enough food. On one mission, Father was wounded and sent to hospital, in the town of Ostashkovo on Lake Seliger. Once, while he was recovering and reading a book on physics, Kolbanovsky, a front-line doctor, approached Father and asked if he could maintain X-ray and other equipment. There were very few experts capable of maintaining that sort of equipment. Father immediately agreed. It was not difficult to transfer him from the ranks of the Latvian rifle division to the appropriate military-medical unit, where he quickly became an expert technician. Around autumn of 1942, Father obtained the rank of lieutenant-engineer. His further service was connected with military-medical units. He was dismissed from service in the rank of senior lieutenant.
My father was with the Steppe Front in 1943, and later with the Second Ukrainian Front. When Father was in the Second Ukrainian Front, he was appointed assistant to the chief surgeon of that front, a Soviet medical doctor named Elansky. He went with this unit through Moldova and Hungary. In May 1945, he was somewhere in Protectorate of Bohemia. During the entire period of his military service, Father did not get a leave. Right after his demobilization in August 1945, Father passed his graduation exams at the Latvian University, which had been interrupted in June 1941.
In the post-war years, my father was completely involved with official pedagogical work. He was a professor of mathematics, worked in the higher education system by correspondence and in evening courses. We had a huge scientific library at home. Father taught mathematics, but later he became a scientific researcher at the astrophysics laboratory of the Academy of Sciences. Father was an outstanding popularizer of mathematics and astronomy for wide circles of population. He is the author of a great number of publications – 186 written works. Detailed information about his scientific career was published in the book "From the History of Natural Sciences and Engineering in Pre-Baltic Countries."
In Uni, while we were in evacuation, Grandfather worked as a weigher. But the main means by which we subsisted was my father’s officer’s certificate. The men who served in the acting army got certain allowances for their families.
How happy we were to hear the radio news of liberation of Riga when we were in Uni! And after that message, the whole family started to anticipate going back to Riga. Vulf, who was an administrator in industry in the government of the Latvian Soviet republic, was released from the army. He was ordered to return to the liberated Riga along with other industrial managers. He arrived in Riga in October 1944. We returned to Riga in January 1945.
Vulf set off to 40 Brivibas Street, from which the whole family left for evacuation in June 1941. As soon as he stepped in the courtyard, he was met by the caretaker of the house, carrying the keys of the apartment. Everything indicated that an important official of the German administration was staying in the apartment, probably the chief of German security service. The apartment was very well equipped, with a lot of beautiful furniture – not the furniture our family left. There were solid stoves and tile furnaces that had not been there before. An ordinary family could have hardly afforded such substantial heating. There were many magnificent, multivolume publications in the apartment: encyclopedias, books on art, atlases. All publications were of German nationalistic character, but you couldn’t say that those books were Nazi propaganda. There also were numerous sets of fascist newsreels in the apartment. The children who returned to the apartment started to play with those bobbins of films. However, the men realized that these chronicles could be of interest to the Peoples’ Commissariat of Internal Affairs. All these films were given to the appropriate authorities without much fuss. Some of that literature was burned in furnaces.
My father had strict Soviet-type views on labor and family life: Everyone in the family should work, and a child should receive a public Soviet education. Right after returning to Riga, Mother mobilized all her knowledge of accounting. With the assistance of Vulf, who was a lawyer with the Ministry of Light Industry, Mother got a job in that ministry. When I was 9, I was ill with a lung disease. To nurse me through that illness, Mother left work, and for a year or a year and a half, she was occupied only with the household. When my health recovered, she was close to pension age and started to work as a bookkeeper. We had no nannies. I used to go to Pioneer camps. We had a summer cottage in the period when I was sick, when I needed to get rid of that lung disease. Now I feel nostalgic each time when I think of those beautiful places in Yurmala, not far from Riga.
I was an only child. I had comfortable conditions at home. Father sharply criticized me quite often for my various mistakes and lack of self-control, but Mother was softer. In general, there was a favorable family atmosphere that enhanced my success. I finished a standard Soviet school – a Riga secondary school. I entered the mathematical branch of the faculty of physics and mathematics of the Latvian University. After graduation, I started to work as a programmer in the computer center of the Latvian University, and I quickly was assigned as a young specialist to this center. I served in the army for one year, in the Leningrad military district. After the army, I continued to work in the university’s computer center. Then I was transferred to the computer center at the State Committee on Supplies. It coincided with my idea of getting married. I began to get a higher salary and, with that salary, I could present myself in a more favorable light as a groom. But I was not satisfied with my marriage.
I was dismissed from my job in 1980, but not because of my nationality. I didn’t feel any open pressure because I was a Jew. All that was hidden, latent. After I was dismissed, I didn’t work. I was not looking for any job. I was a moderate dissident. My non-conformity manifested itself in responding to newspaper publications, writing political articles to some newspapers. I had an especially active correspondence in 1982 with the Moscow newspaper "The Soviet Culture." With my public activity from the beginning of 1980, I was very close to the public opinion that resulted in the so-called perestroika reforms in the late 1980s.
I am a rank and file member of the Latvian Association of the Jewish Culture and I regularly pay dues. I was not among the founders of the association. I joined the organization in 1990, and all my work is now connected with this society.
In the Soviet times Mother used to call the office of Riga religious community and ask when Pesach and Rosh Hashanah would fall, according to the official religious calendar. And we had some traditional Jewish meals on these days. But she didn’t go to the synagogue. She died in 1985. Mother and Father are buried in the Jewish cemetery in Riga.
Under the strong influence of Father, I do not go to synagogue, I am completely secular. I remember my grandfather Ber a little bit. He regularly visited the synagogue together with his friends – the believing Jews. He stayed in the same track all his life and didn’t swerve from it. None of his children really inherited his religious zeal. Out of respect for their parents, they observed certain traditions, but no more than that. Mother’s brother Grigory, who was inclined to humor and comic behavior, sometimes pretended that he adhered to traditions. In 1960s and 1970s, he used to go to the synagogue, but his sisters made fun of him.
A funny but not very pleasant political story happened to Vulf Borisovich when de-Stalinization began. In 1940, he joined the Communist Party and, in general, he was a very pro-Soviet man. Mother always remembered his exclamation: "What remarkable country we live in!" His pro-Soviet views ripened as early as the 1930s in Riga, with the so-called "Acadsoyuz" – a Jewish Communist students union. It was founded in 1930-34, and was a more or less underground organization before the Ulmanis revolution on May 15, 1934. In 1957, Vulf and his friends decided that all Stalinist restrictions passed into history. They resolved to invite their pre-war "Acadsoyuz" friend from 1930s, who was then living in Paris, to reminisce about their Komsomol youth. But it turned out that the KGB was permanently spying on their friend, who had just arrived. In 1958, the whole company was charged with a severe accusation – failing to inform the appropriate Party bodies of their plan to meet a Western representative. That meeting took place at Vulf’s apartment. Mother was at that meeting but, as she was not a member of the Party, she was not accused. Vulf was excluded from the Party and dismissed from the Bar of Lawyers. In the 1960s, he filed petitions with several congresses of the Communist Party, asking them to restore him, but all the petitions were rejected. Otherwise, his reputation was irreproachable. He had good relations with the executives of the ministerial administrations, and he became a lawyer with some industrial enterprise.
This whole story affected his daughter Ira in such a way that she grew up with a completely different orientation – not a dissident, but bourgeois. In 1979, she left for America. She is an entirely material woman. She decided that, being a good engineer, she would go to America and earn a lot of money. She has a son, Michael. Seeing that Michael could not arrange his personal life, they went to China and found a Chinese girl to be his wife. This is what I call the American way! The meeting of civilizations!
|Programmed & Managed with RedYs MAX|