Interview conducted in 2004 by Natalia Fomina
During the horrible famine in 1921, the interviewee’s parents moved to Zhmerinka, Vinnitsa region, where they ended up staying for 20 years. Born there in 1926, Mr. Fihtman fondly remembers how his maternal grandmother read him books in Russian as well as cinema being the main entertainment in his home town. The outbreak of the Great Patriotic War brought an end to this peaceful life and saw the family evacuate, moving from place to place.
In the interim, Mr. Fihtman’s brother Abram went to serve in the army as early as 1939, a month after WWII began, fought in the Brest Battle in 1941 and perished in Leningrad in May 1942. The interviewee himself served at the border with Afghanistan, fighting basmachi groups; in 1944 he was sent to Orenburg infantry school where he stayed for 14 months; in 1946 he was demobilized. After the war, he settled down in Odessa, founded a family and worked as a teacher of history. 12 photos, mostly portraits of family members.
Learn more about Grigoriy Fihtman here on the Centropa website.