Category Archives: Russia/E. Europe

Remembering your “why” (Russia)

            I was thirteen years old when we moved to the United States. It was my first trip on the airplane, and I remember feeling excited and scared at the same time. Scared because I have never flown on an airplane before, and excited because I wanted to see my city from a bird’s eye ... Read More »

Winter Russia to Sunny California 

              Jumping through a train window, scared that it was going to leave without his brother making it through, Arthur Abezgauz was a teenage immigrant fleeing Russia in  the 1980’s with his family due to religious persecution. Their plan to make it to New York  wasn’t so simple. He explained, my grandmother had met ... Read More »

Isaacson Family (Latvia)

The Isaacson Family hails from the Province of Piltene, part of a region of western Latvia historically known as Courland. “You have totake the train to Riga,” a descendent later recalled. “Take it at night, you’d get there the next morning.”  Courland was Latvia’s oldest Jewish community. It’s believed that the first Jews arrived in Piltene around 1571–probably merchants from ... Read More »

La Vie en Rose: The Legacy of Two Stories

The ensuing stories will follow the trajectories of two different families who immigrated to New York from Eastern Europe at different point in history. They are ultimately connected by marriage, and their legacies live on. The Weill Family                   Teddy Roosevelt’s doppelgänger, Nathan Glickman (née approx. 1866; Moscow, Russia) and the ever ... Read More »

Piano Teacher from Belarus

              Darya Novik (name changed) was raised in Belarus when it was a former Soviet Union state. When asked, she said she had a “pretty ordinary childhood.” She lived in the 2nd largest city in Belarus, went to regular school and music school and grew up playing piano. “Just like everyone else.” Once she ... Read More »

Jewish Immigrants And Community Leaders

David Weber immigrated from the Pale of Settlement, Russia (now an area in Ukraine) in the late 1800s, at around 20 years old. The Pale of Settlement was an area in the Eastern section of Russia where Jews were required to live by the Russian Czars at that time. Living in the area limited opportunities and freedoms for Jews that ... Read More »

A Russian Artist Leaves a Legacy

Rissa Rasnovsky was born in the late 1800s in Borzna, Russia (now Ukraine) in the Pale of Settlement. The Pale was an eastern section of Russia where the Russian Czars and government ordered Jewish people to live in. Places other than the Pale of Settlement were mostly forbidden for Jewish people to reside in, limiting the opportunities and freedom Jews ... Read More »

No Return Trip (Lithuania)

My grandmother, Fruma Dushnitzer, did not intend to become a US immigrant when she came to visit in July of 1939.  She and her 3 year old daughter Fagie, came on a ship, “The New Amsterdam”, to visit her parents in Chicago, as they had never met their granddaughter.  They had emigrated from Lithuania to Chicago in the late 1920’s.  ... Read More »

Eleven Year-Old Sweatshop Worker (Russia)

                Lena Solomon, née Hurwitz, was Russian and Jewish, and was born in 1902 in the Russian city of Pskov. Although age was rarely discussed and remained mysterious within their family, it is speculated that she must have been the third youngest sister of eight sisters who survived through infancy. Various circumstances led ... Read More »

Safer in the US (Russia)

It was a cold winter night in St Petersburg 2008, Tatiana (name changed) was around 30 and had 2 children, still working her night shift in her pharmacy to earn enough to pay for all the life necessities during the cold Russian winter. She then received a interesting phone call. It came from her father residing in the United States. ... Read More »