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Tatiana Lobanova

MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER’S MEMORIES

Fira Abramovna Beliatskaya.
Fira Abramovna Beliatskaya.

I would like to tell everyone about my great grandmother Fira Abramovna Beliatskaya. She died three years ago at the age of 94. During the last years of her life I recorded some of her stories and would like to share them here.

Childhood

I was born in Mogilev. Our family was big: eight children and the parents. Mother, Leya Belenkaya, was a tailor. Our neighbors were both Russian and Jewish. The Russian neighbors knew the Jewish language. We used to play together and visit each other.

The synagogue

I attended the synagogue until the age of eight. Father used to take the boys and mother the girls. We would put on our most festive clothes. Father was a truly religious person. After work he always went to the synagogue. When the Soviet authorities began fighting the religion, father began praying in his bedroom. He still went to the synagogue on Saturdays.

Holidays

On Passover everyone sat down at the table. Special dishes were brought from the attic. Every person had a silver glass for Passover. The biggest one belonged to the father, a smaller one – to the mother and the smaller ones – to the children. Then father poured home-made red wine.

Before the war we used to make our own matsot.

The arrest

Certificate on Fira Beliatskaya’s rehabilitation.
Certificate on Fira Beliatskaya’s rehabilitation.

A new airport was being built in Mogilev. I was sent there to work. It was 1937. One day in June, while listening to the radio, I heard that Uborevich and Tukhachevsky were sent to prison. Why were they declared the enemies of the nation? What have they done?

So, I came to work and our party organizer told me: “Fira, you need to visit all the hostels and take off the portraits of former party leaders. They have been declared the enemies of the nation. They need to be collected and burnt down.” So I went to the hostels and did what I had been asked.

Fira Beliatskaya with husband Iosif.
Fira Beliatskaya with husband Iosif.

The following day I was declared the enemy of the nation as well. I was sent to prison, where I spent eight and a half months. There was no trial. There were interrogations and even tortures. However, in the end they let me out. When I came home mother ran to the bedroom and hid herself. I stood there in tears: “Mom, why are you running away from me?” She replied: “ Tell me the truth: have you escaped or have they let you go?” I exclaimed: “Mother! They let me out! I am not guilty!” This accident made me lose my faith in people.

Later I got married. When the war began our daughter was one year and eight months old.

The war

The morning when the war began my husband told me: “Fira! The war has begun. Please, do what everyone else will do.” So, on July 3rd 1941 we left the city. Like everyone else, we had no idea, how long we were leaving for. We were travelling for eight days, washing ourselves in rivers. Then we were given shelter in Roslavl by a family.

Evacuation

We were evacuated to Ulianovsk region. In 1944, when Mogilev was liberated, I was sent there. The city was completely destroyed and so was my apartment. For three days I stayed in the streets until I met an old acquaintance of mine. He helped me get an apartment in a half-destroyed house.

Anti-Semitism

The war was over. My mother and sister came to our place, which made me feel much more optimistic. My husband came back in 1946 and went to apply for a job. He was rejected and later found out that there was a decree which prohibited organizations to employ Jews. It was extremely difficult to find a job. Being a Jew it was practically impossible.

Еврейское местечко под Минском




Jewish settlements in Mogilev region

MogilevAntonovkaBatsevichiBelynichiBelynkovichiBobruiskByhovChausyCherikov Dashkovka DribinEsmonyGluskGolovchinGorki GoryGrozdianka Hotimsk KirovskKlichev KonohovkaKostukovichi KrichevKruchaKrugloye Lenino LubonichiMartinovka MoliatichiMstislavlNaprasnovkaOsipovichi RodniaRudkovschina SamotevichiSapezhinkaSeletsShamovoShepelevichiShklovSlavgorodStaroselieSukhariSvislochVereschaki ZaverezhieZhilichi

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