“When the Second World War advanced to Rostov, we were afraid for our lives,” said Lyudmila. “We had no time to think. Our parents gathered grandma, my brother and I, and took us to the train station. They purchased the only tickets available—a roofless train to Tashkent. We evacuated, leaving everything we owned behind.”

“Life in Tashkent was a nightmare. We lived in deplorable conditions and had little to eat. Though she was weak, grandma refused to eat anything that wasn’t kosher.

“After the war, we came back to Rostov, but life was still challenging for Jews in communist Russia. When I went to get my passport, the agent tried convincing me that it would be to my benefit if I changed my father’s name on the records. With a father named Meir, doors would likely remain closed to me. I refused.

“We managed to maintain our nationality with pride through the most challenging times. Eventually, we built a successful family business. Today, I’m 80 years old, and I’m still working. You can find my office on the prestigious Prospect Pushkin Street–just look for the door with the Mezuzah hanging on it.”

Source: Jewish Community of Rostov

— in Rostov, Rostovskaya Oblast’, Russia.

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