Greetings dear … American friends! …
I promised to write you a little about our family. I will begin with my grandmother and grandfather, who were dear to me. At the time when I was born only my mother’s parents were alive, my grandmother Freyda and grandfather Duvid-Arye. They had 8 children, but only three of them lived to adulthood: my mama Paya, her sister Rakhil and brother Fayvish. Before the war,my grandparents lived with their son and their daughters lived with their own families. Grandmother took care of the household and raised her grandchildren, grandfather worked despite his age, for he was already 75 years old. Their son was an accountant. At that time this was a big accomplishment. They lived in accordance with Jewish traditions. They observed all the rules and laws. But the war destroyed all this. They drafted my Uncle Fayvish into the army. When the army was retreating through our town, he came to say goodbye to his parents, then he fell during a bombardment and was killed. This event affected my grandmother greatly and until her death she remembered her son with tears.
The Germans entered our town and began to persecute the Jews. They formed a ghetto. All the Jewish inhabitants of the town were gathered into a small section that was surrounded by a barbed wire fence, and then they were joined by Jews who had been deported from Romania, Bessarabia, Bukovina. They lived in terrible crowding, unsanitary conditions, in hunger and cold. Typhus and other epidemics began to spread. Grandfather became ill and soon died, and my uncle, the husband of my mother’s sister, died. It seemed as if my parents and I would not manage to survive in such terrible conditions. But we lived through it and survived until the liberation. We all lived together with my grandmother as one family. Grandmother Freyda lived to age 96, but she always cried remembering the war and occupation.
One must not forget these things, but it is very difficult [emotionally] to remember them.
… The holiday of Pesach is approaching. I greet you on this holiday; I hope that this holiday will be joyful for you. I wish you health and successes in all your affairs. May the Almighty protect you. I embrace you firmly! With great esteem and love, Mikhel and all my family.
These are my grandfather and grandmother.
Duvid-Arye Minkovetzkii and Freyda in 1940.
And this is me beside our house in 1951.