Ida T. – Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine

Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine-JULY 2005

Hello, my dear American friends, I was glad when I received your letter … I want to apologize for delaying my response.

Now, something about me: I was born in Dnepropetrovsk in 1922. Our family was poor, father – worker, mother-homemaker. We were 5 children (4 brothers and I, the youngest sister). We lived poorly and starved often. My brothers completed 7 years of Jewish school and early begin to work. I had only 1 or 2 dresses and boy’s boots.

In 1936 I completed 7 years of Jewish school and in 1939 the 10th class of Russian school with excellent marks. In 1939 as an A-student I was matriculated to medical institution without exams. I dreamed to be a good surgeon. But the war had begun. In June of 1941 I ended only 2 courses. With our students I went to dig entrenchments around the city and had duties in the hospital. All my 4 brothers were mobilized to the front. My oldest brother Hanan died in the first month of the war. My other three brothers came back after victory as disabled veterans. Matvei and Zusia are now both dead, and one of my brothers, Lenia lives in Israel without both legs.

In the 18th August of 1941 we evacuated to the Caucasus. Our train was attacked by enemy aircraft-there were many victims. The road was very dangerous, but we had luck. The train was bombarded and some coaches were burning. German pilots were shooting running people on hedge-hopping flights. The burned coaches were uncoupled and we moved further. For a couple of months we lived in the Caucasus, then via Caspian Sea in storm and cold and then via river Volga we arrived in Gorki (Nizhni Novgorod), not far from Moscow. The enemy got closer to Moscow and in the 21st October began to bombard famous military factory in Gorki. At that time I began to work as a deputy chief of anti-aircraft defense of that factory. Beside that, we had duties on the roofs of residential blocks; we had to extinguish ignition bombs. We also helped in the ruins and hospitals. I was awarded with a medal “For valorous labor in the years of the Great Patriotic war”, medal of Zhukov*. I have 9 medals from that war.

Ida displays her medals for Chic Wolk in Dnepropetrovsk in May 2007 I worked on that factory until April of 1947. After the war, in 1946 I was married to Zipkin Simon Michailovich. In 1947 my husband, son (he was born in 1947), mother in the age of 63, and I came back to Dnepropetrovsk. My father died in Gorki in 1944. I began to work in orphan school as a teacher. And from 1950 to retirement on a pension I have worked in a regional popular schooling department. Simultaneously I studied in the state university, which I finished with red diploma. I worked as a director of children’s tourist base. I was awarded with a sign of “The exemplary popular schooling of Ukraine”. I’m recorded in the regional book of honor. I tried to live and work honestly.

My husband was a wonderful man, a good friend, a war veteran. He was always a healthy, energetic, and active person; but in 1975 he had an infarct, in 1990 he had heart failure and on the 20th of September of 1993 he died. My son died in 1999 at the age of 52, he had cancer of the kidney. Life became gray, sad, and gloomy after that. In November 2001 I broke my hip joint and in January 2001 I broke my clavicle. In April 2004 I had an infarct. But I need to live and give thanks to the “old age home” for my care.

I am grateful to you for the gelt you send to my. It was much needed to me for the medicine, which I must take permanently.

Dear friends, on 18th and 19th of July we have been visited by group of American women. They traveled on Ukrainian cities and familiarized themselves with the activity of Jewish communities.

We organized meetings in the evening; we sang songs in English and Jewish (Yiddish) languages. It was an unforgettable meeting of friends. Sometimes we have guests from Boston. Everyone likes our old age home. Sometimes, we also have guests from England and Israel.

Dear, friends! Try to write to me in English I think I’ll find some help to translate your letters.

I want to tell you how we spent the 60th anniversary of Great Victory. On the 9th of May were been invited to the city synagogue – “Golden Rose”, where veterans of the war were congratulated. There was concert and reception. Students from the Jewish school and Jewish pedagogical college “Betta-Hana” visited us. We were also visited-through veterans Meetings-from organizations where we worked before. Our old age home was gifted with a bus on which we organize excursions to historical places in our city. All May was very interesting. Sixty years have passed but I remember everything what happened.

Dear friends! Thank you for everything, for your kindness, care, and help. Let God give you a hundred times more. I wish happiness and health to you and your family. It’s interesting to know about your family. Thank you one more time! I’ll be waiting impatiently for your letter.

* Zhukov is the legendary Soviet general of GPW

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