I was born in 1961, only 16 years after the end of WWII, and spent my first three years living next to my grandmother. Or under her wing. Or in her kingdom. She presided over our household in a two-room suite, which was part of a large communal apartment shared by seven families. Our two […]

One of the strongest memories of my grandmother: she could not hear German–on the radio or in a movie–without involuntarily crying. On June 22, 1941 Germany invaded Russia. Orsha, my grandmother’s hometown, was captured during Operation Barbarossa on July 16, 1941. Before the war, Orsha had a Jewish population of nearly 8,000. A Judenrat was […]

My aunt, Ninel Ivanovna Efimova, was born in 1924. I heard that my grandfather Ivan was away a lot, traveling for work. Here he is working. What did he do and where? My grandmother become a busy doctor. She loved practicing medicine and worked well past retirement, volunteering at a local clinic. Here she is […]

In 1918, following the Russian Revolution and the emancipation of Jews, my grandmother rushed to Petrograd. Civil War breaks out. WWI ends. My grandmother enters medical school to become a doctor. Here she is, second from the left in the front row, facing the camera. On her way to total emancipation, she joins the Communist […]

My grandmother, Henna Yakovlevna Efimova (nee Droznik) was born in Orsha in 1898. She was one of ten children of a rabbi. In 1918, right after the Russian Revolution and the emancipation of the Jews, the children of Yakov Droznik went to seek their fortune elsewhere. This is the Rosh Hashanah card my grandmother’s brother […]