Project «Voices of Jewish settlements. Vitebsk region.»
פיתוח קשרי התרבות בין העמים של ישראל ובלרוס
Man in the middle row – my father Yevsey Alterovich Hayet.
Next to him – mother Haya Mendelevna Ritz.
Mother’s sister Kissa – in the lower row, the last on the right.
My mother’s pioneer group. She is in the lower row on the left
(with black curly hair).
I am collecting information about my mother, who was born and lived in Drissa until June 22nd 1941. There are some facts that I have already found but many of them are missing, since she had a secret that she kept her whole life.
Mother’s name was Haya Mendelevna Ritz. All in all, there were four sisters and brother Solomon in our family. Before the war mother was working at the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs and she never told us about her job. When the war broke out, all the employees were handed out new identity documents. Thus my mother became Estonian and her name was changed to Albina Tiastu. She dealt with organization of partisan movement and one day, while she was in the woods, among the partisans, she met Yevsey Alterovich Hayet, who later became her husband and my father…
Father originated from Slutsk region. He was a principal at the Drissa school. In 1938 mother saw his name was on the list of those, who were to be arrested. By some miracle, he joined the school of Red Commanders, which saved him from arrest.
Mother had to pretend that she had not known him before. They acted like people, who were just introduced to each other. At the same time they had a 7-year-old son… During the war dad was in the army and he found us only in 1946. Then he took us to Germany, where we lived until 1948. Later he was transferred to Lvov region.
My brother Valik (Valerian) with mother
before the war. This photograph was sent to father,
when he was in training at the school of Red Commanders
My brother in Arefino. 1945. Mother in Germany. 1947.
Until 1958 his biography was connected with the army… My parents lived together happily for 52 years. Father died in 1986. After the war mom returned to Drissa and received identity documents with her real name. She lived to be 95, all her life keeping her secret. Only during the last months of her life, when she was hallucinating, I managed to hear and restore some of the stories.
Mother, my husband and I. May 9th 2003.
I am writing this to pay my duty to my courageous mom. She really wanted to find some people from her partisan past. I cannot imagine a 28-year-old woman walking through the whole territory of the occupied Belarus, meeting crowds of Jews, whose lives were doomed. Some of them were shouting: “Russians, please save us!” In one of such crowds she saw her accountant. Their eyes met and he did not make any sign of recognition. Thus he saved her and me, because at that time she was pregnant with me. According to documents, I was born in 1942 in a village called Strogan, in Smolensk region. I failed to find this place, either because it was renamed or destroyed by the war.
After mother’s death I found a paper scrap with names of people, who had most probably been working with her. If anyone possesses any information that could help me, please, let me know.
Note written by mother before she died.
It contains names of people who she most probably
dealt with during the war.
Jewish settlements in Vitebsk region
Vitebsk • Albrehtovo • Babinovichi • Baran • Bayevo • Begoml • Beshenkovichi • Bocheikovo • Bogushevsk • Borkovichi • Braslav • Bychiha • Chashniki • Disna • Dobromysli • Dokshitsy • Druya • Dubrovno • Glubokoye • Gorodok • Kamen • Kohanovo • Kolyshki • Kopys • Krasnopolie • Kublichi • Lepel • Liady • Liozno • Lukoml • Luzhki • Lyntupy • Miory • Obol • Oboltsy • Orsha • Osintorf • Ostrovno • Parafianovo • Plissa • Polotsk • Prozorki • Senno • Sharkovshina • Shumilino • Sirotino • Slaveni• Smolyany • Surazh • Tolochin • Ulla • Verhnedvinsk • Vidzy • Volyntsy • Yanovichi • Yezerishe • Zhary • Ziabki •