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Efim Levertov
THE RUDERMAN SISTERS

Dora Vasilevskaya
LIFE JOURNEY OF VASYA IVANOV

Olga Zagadskaya
JEWISH BORISOV

Alexander Rosenblum
LADY SEINA’S BUSINESS

Alexander Rosenblum
WHERE’S YOUR FRIEND ENGELSON?

Alexander Rosenblum
JOSEF EISENSTADT AND HIS SONS

Alexander Rosenblum
KYUKHELBEKER

Alexander Rosenblum
LAST RABBIS IN BORISOV

Alexander Rosenblum

LADY SEINA’S BUSINESS

At the beginning of the last century the population of my native district town Borisov was 15 thousand people. Half of it was Jewish. Social differentiation was sharp and disproportionate. The overwhelming majority of Jews sat and rot in poverty and filth. Still, there were Jews who looked respectable, had imposing houses and lacked nothing. These were manufacturers, merchants and timber tradesmen. Their last names were known to everyone – Solomonov, Lurie, Berman, Girshman…

Among them there was a woman whose last name was known to no one. Everyone called her in a simple but a very touching way, mume Seina, or, Lady Seina. She was a woman of uncertain age, powdered and with a rich make-up. Her abundant diamonds, golden rings, bracelets and brooches attracted everyone’s eye. She was considered one of the richest locals, and that was true.

Lady Seina ran a small business in service sector, located in her own house in Lepelskaya street. She employed several pretty girls, a heavy muscled bouncer, Aleksandr Starodetko, and, as part-timer, the local doctor Orlovsky who was to regularly provide medical examination of certain body parts of the female personnel. The business draw plenty of customers and Lady Seina established a time rate with an advance payment. Wine and appetizers were paid separately.

A small room with the selected girl was provided for a fixed time. If a client failed to observe the time limit, there was a knock at the door of the room, and a corresponding extra charge was required. The rules in effect were followed inviolately, while occasional conflicts were settled without the police. The bouncer threw out the troublemaker in the flicker of a second, sometimes even naked.

Lady Seina had died before the Bolsheviks came to power. Surely they wouldn’t have offered her prospects of something good. She died in 1916. The funeral service made no scruples to ask for a fabulous for that time amount of 600 roubles. And the successors had to loosen their purse-strings. However, the bequest amount didn’t decrease much. The rich Lady from Borisov is long forgotten. Lost is the fame of her house which is still unharmed in the place. Only the name of the street was changed for 3rd Internatsionala street. Prospering is the business which was at the time run successfully by Seina. Though, its kinds have been updated, but I think, it is still prospering.

Interesting to know is the fact that according to the first All-Russia Census of 1897, six female residents of Borisov identified themselves as professional prostitutes. Three of them were Jewish. There’s nothing surprising, the ancient people is not strange to the ancient profession.

Еврейское местечко под Минском


Jewish settlements in Minsk region

MinskBerezinoBobrBorisov DolginovoDukoraDzerzhinsk Ivenets Myadel NesvizhObchuga Pogost Rakov Seliba Slutsk Svir Uhvaly Vileika

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