[In Ukraine] There was a time prior to 1991 when our people (children) were starting and achieving things even in our country. But nowadays the times are so tough. All the changes in the country have influenced the success of the youth in a negative way.
I received your letter Jan 17th, but I was very ill and was in the hospital. I had gall stones and from time to time the stones let me know about their presence, and in time, even more so. My liver was enflamed and also gallbladder and my intestines. Blood pressure had dropped, and I was falling unconscious with every attempt to stand up. I have good neighbors and they helped to call the ambulance. I spend 15 days in the hospital. They put me on IV, gave me medication and shots. Thank you very much for your help. It came in handy. I wish G-d to give you health for many, many years. I saved some of the money you sent and I had to use it for this. That’s how things are going right now. They took me in the ambulance to the hospital. (You have to pay for that). If you have money they will help you if you don’t have money they will not. Maybe you have the same situation in your country….
We lived our lives, we worked for our retirement and we thought that this is it…and then Perestroika. Everything destroyed. All the plants, factories, industries, have closed down – the equipment sold, precious metals being sold abroad. How many decades do we need now to reestablish and rebuild all this? We have high unemployment, the young people don’t have work and don’t go to college and cannot study. Retirement is not being earned. How will they live in the future? What is there for them in the future? Flourishing are only those who stole, who speculated…and now they are on top. They are now being called “New Russians”, or “Businessmen”. There is a new President and maybe he will change something. But, we will need about 100 years for that change. Right now we need to rebuild, reestablish and give people jobs. But the budget is absolutely empty. Costs are rising everyday, but the pension and pay do not. The people are sinking into poverty more and more. What a good life we had before “Perestroika”. Everything was accessible and free: education and medical treatment. We had trade unions, which also helped working people. And this is why even having very low pay, we had been able to survive. We lived and we thought this is how we would always live. Of course the system had to be altered, but definitely not the way it has been altered. They cut down everything under the root. Turned everything upside down, legs up. And they called this “Perestroika” which means to re-build. In one night they made everybody a pauper. People had their retirement money saved, even a little, and then everything disappeared. People had to sell their houses. And then even this money disappeared. And the people who helped this to happen disappeared with the money as well â€“ (they pocketed billions of dollars and left the people with nothing).
I have 2 children from my brother. My daughter Luba graduated from technical school with a degree in Economy. She used to have a good position in a shipyard. But the shipyard was closed down, she lost her job, just like the rest of the workers. Now she is retired. My son, Boris, graduated from sailing school (civilian sailor) and he was on a ship on the sea till he was retired. He has a heart condition and he is ill. And now my children are retired and they have about 300 grivna which is about $53 a month to live on. Of course, everybody needs to live, but the pensions for retirement money have been equalized â€“ whoever worked 40-50 years and whoever worked only 2 years get the same money. Yes, this letter is coming our pretty sad. It is very difficult to live, but to change something, relocate or leave is very frightening. I don’t have health or stomach for that… you ask how much money I need for eye surgery and gall bladder. In our calculation that will be between 600-1500 grivna – about $400. For me this is an enormous sum of money to come up with. This is why we have such a high mortality rate. People get sick, they don’t get treated, they don’t get surgeries. There is no money to pay. And they die like flies.
This time I think I wrote everything in answer to your questions, and if not, the next time there will be something to write about, yes?
Your inclusion (gelt) in the letter I have received. Thank you very, very much. I wish you everything good, strong health, happiness and success. I kiss you.
NOTE: Yefim Yefimovich F. passed away in August, 2005
Holocaust Survivors: Yefim F. – Kherson, Ukraine