Category Archives: Russia/E. Europe

Amy’s Journey from Greece

What if I told you that a young girl, living in a family of ten in northern Greece, would find her way to Palo Alto, California, married to a New Yorker with a daughter and two loving grandsons? My grandmother, Amy Lewnes, was born on November 30th, 1933 in a small town in northern Greece called Serres. She lived with ... Read More »

The American Dreamer from Bulgaria

Then one summer day in 2012, our family woke up in 3 AM in the morning to catch our flight to America. Airport security had been increased because of a bombing the day prior to our departure. My father, Danail, was always a mediocre student. He mostly got Bs and Cs while in middle and high school. He did not ... Read More »

From Persecution, to Palestine, to Paradise

One day, a strange woman showed up at the door, saying that Sarah was alive, but she and her family were starving in Kiev. My Great grandfather lost it all when the Communists took over. Joseph was born around 1899 in a village outside the city of Kiev in Russia. He had four brothers and sisters. His parents were upper-middle ... Read More »

Jacob Tucker

He eventually became a very successful attorney and even argued a case against GM in the Supreme Court for workers’ rights. Many years ago, a young boy named Jacob lived in a small Russian town with his family. He lived happily without a care in the world until one day his father left to escape from being drafted into the ... Read More »

From the Soviet Union to Palo Alto

It is 1975, and Russia was known as the Soviet Union, a strong, communist country that strictly limited Russians’ rights. Vlad was born in 1971 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which was part of the USSR. Vlad (name changed by request) experienced significant hearing loss at the age of 9 months due to a high fever and his parents immediately decided that listening and ... Read More »

Memory Is Our Home: Transition from Poland

In 1968 an unmistakable anti-Semitic undertone came out into the open, and ‘intellectual’ and ‘Jew’ were words used interchangeably to degrade those who criticized the Polish government. Thus began the targeting of Jewish students, professors, and professionals. The result was that most Polish Jews lost their jobs and about 30,000 were forced out of Poland. Of the over 3 million ... Read More »

Hungarian Legacy: Holocaust, Revolution, and Irénke néni

This year marks the 60th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution. It erupted October 23, 1956 and was brutally suppressed by Soviet troops on November 4th. I escaped with my family to Austria a few weeks later. Within three months, 200,000 Hungarians from a country of 10 million had fled to the West. Many did not make it, shot on the ... Read More »

Harry & Malka: Fleeing Pogroms

When he was a boy, Harry Katznelson’s father was a bible scholar and would quote the beginning of a bible verse then have Harry or his brother Zev quote the end of the verse.  Harry himself was from Lublin, while his future spouse Malka Meyerson was from a village in between Minsk and Pinsk. They were “living in a place ... Read More »

Immigrant Survivor of Armenian Genocide Mannig Keshkekian

The Armenian genocide began in 1915, when Mannig Keshkekian was five years old. The Ottoman Turks cast her family out into the desert. They hung all the scholars and priests in Mannig’s community because they did not want the local people to have any education. Mannig’s mother had died in childbirth, and her father had left for Egypt before the ... Read More »

Fuchs Family – Grateful Survivors

Recently, my brother Henry Fuchs received a prestigious professional award* and I had the pleasure of attending the ceremony. As I watched him being honored and celebrated by colleagues and students from around the world, I couldn’t help but think, he and I are members of a generation that wasn’t supposed to have been born. How many millions who were ... Read More »

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