Oral history interview with Bettya Kurkis and Michael Kurkis
Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
- Michael Kurkis
- Sara Yufa
2011 January 23
1 DVD : MPEG-4.
- Credit Line
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Mott Community College
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.
Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:38:45
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn45449
Also in Oral history interviews of the Mott Community College collection
Oral history interviews of the Mott Community College collection.
Date: 2010 December 12-2011 January 23
Nina Yufa, born in 1941, and Leonid Yufa, born in 1938, describe living in Kharkiv, Ukraine; their parents’ professions; how the KGB took Nina’s father; not being allowed to practice Judaism; the conditions under the Soviet government; how Nina’s mother tried to leave with her children; how Leonid’s family evacuated, except for his brother who was not allowed because of his mental disability; a massacre in Haika, the antisemitism in the Soviet Union, and how the interviewees’ parents were active in communist organizations (told by the translator and daughter of the interviewees, Irina Yufa); how Nina’s family was in Uzbekistan when the Nazis invaded Kharkiv and Leonid’s family was hiding in Siberia; the conditions in Siberia and Uzbekistan, including food and their parents’ jobs; returning to Kharkiv, where Leonid’s apartment was relatively untouched and Nina’s was destroyed; how Nina was sick with tropical malaria during the evacuation and was often sick as a child; being Jewish in the Soviet Union and how it affected their faith; being Jewish in the Soviet Union versus the United States; practicing Judaism after the fall of the Soviet Union; how Irina immigrated to the U.S. in 1991 and her family followed in 1993; antisemitism in higher education in the Soviet Union; Leonid’s thoughts on Hitler; the unfinished Jewish state Stalin planned in Siberia; and a monument that was built in Kharkiv.
Leonid Litvak, born near Odesa, Ukraine, describes his prewar childhood; his father's involvement in the Communist Party; his father's forced relocation to Vladivostok, Russia in 1934 due to his communist ties; his escape, along with his mother and brother, from their forced relocation to Vladivostok; living with his aunt near Moldova; his father's imprisonment in 1937 by the KGB; his experiences during Nazi bombings; the Nazi-mandated evacuation of everyone in the village; his brother's job identifying Nazi spies for the Russian Army; and his mental breakdown after a near death experience during the war.