Lena C. – Kiev, Ukraine

KIEV, UKRAINE – August, 2005

Thank you for your letter…[My aunt] Masha received your letter and the money and is very thankful to you…

Masha was born in Vaslikov. Before the war she finished Jewish school and went to college. Her father died before the war and her mother stayed with the children – Jenya, Masha, and Boris. During the war the family survived the evacuation to the Urals. They came back to Vaslikov after the war and found that another family was living in their house! People assumed that all of the Brodsky family was killed, like all the other Jews! Praise God that the people gave the house back to our family. Boris, the younger brother died in 2002, Jenya as you know, died this year.

Masha worked as a bookkeeper at a big plant. She and her sister never married. After the war it was a big problem for young girls to find husbands – millions of boys were killed. From my childhood I remember their house – my parents and I often visited them. A lot of people gathered there for the holidays. Masha cooked tasty pastry filled with custard – she is an excellent cook! A friendly atmosphere, jokes, tenderness and open hearts were in her family.

By the way, when my grandfather was arrested in 1949 during Stalin’s anti-Jewish campaign and deported to Siberia, our family lived with the Brodskys in Vasilkov for about 5 years. It was forbidden for a prisoner’s family to live in Kiev and the other big cities. The Brodky’s put a roof over the heads of my grand-mother and 3 children – my mother, aunt, and uncle. They returned to Kiev only after Stalin’s death when my grandfather Isaak came back…

It is terrible that the old people here are so poor and their lives so hopeless. Pensions are so small and if a person does not have family they are helpless, absolutely… Our Jewish Community, Synagogues (3 in Kiev) try to help old people. Once a month and on Jewish holidays they send food parcels. In my community center we organize cultural programs and get medications for them. Of course it is not much but it really helps. And if we can help even a small portion of the old people it makes us happy. We invite people to celebrate Shabbat together at the community center, organize concerts, lectures, etc… My mother and I wish you good health and happiness. We await your answer.

Lena

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