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Oral history interview with Bettya Kurkis and Michael Kurkis

Oral History | Accession Number: 2012.10.2 | RG Number: RG-50.652.0002

Bettya Maysaiva Kurkis, born May 5, 1939 in Chernovtsy, Ukraine, describes her life in the region of Vinnytsia; her father's wartime involvement in Finland; the birth of her younger brother; her father's draft into World War II in 1941; the ghettoization of Jewish villages in the Vinnytsia region; Nazi acts of violence in her town; her family's forced evacuation from their home after the Nazi occupation of her village; the numerous bombings; the lack of access to formal education during the war; her postwar enrollment in school; and her immigration to the United States in 1993.
Michael Kurkis, born in 1933 in Moldova, describes his prewar life in the town of Kishenev; the beginning of the war in 1941; his family's escape from Kishenev towards the Dniester River; crossing the Dniester River; relentless Nazi acts of violence and murders throughout their travels; his family's arrival in Rostov, Russia and their struggle to survive; his father and older brother being forced to participate in the army; their evacuation from their apartments in Rostov and escape into the forest; the family's torturous barge ride on the Caspian Sea; their arrival in Astrakhan, Russia and travels towards Uzbekistan; further hardships the family faced in their attempt to survive; their journey back to Moldova; the ruinous state of postwar Kishinev; his schooling; and the return of his father from the war.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Michael Kurkis
Bettya Kurkis
Sara Yufa
interview:  2011 January 23
Oral histories.
1 DVD : MPEG-4.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Mott Community College
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:42:01
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