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Oral history interview with Sofia Ginzbursky

Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0122.72 | RG Number: RG-50.477.0072

Sofia Ginzbursky (born on December 27, 1915 in Asipavichy, Belarus) describes her mother, who died at the age of 27, soon after she gave birth; going with her siblings to live with their grandfather, who observed Jewish traditions; studying at a technical school in Gomel (Homel), Belarus; living in Leningrad (Saint Petersburg), working as a nanny and secretary; getting married and moving to Gomel; moving later to Belostock (Białystok), Poland; being left alone with their two children when her husband was called up for military duty at the beginning of WWII; evacuating from Belostock by train to Zlobin (ZHlobin, Belarus) and then to Baranovichi, Ukraine; destroying all her documents to hide her Jewish identity; witnessing the persecution of Jews in Ukraine when locals helped the Nazis find Jews; how speaking German helped her find a job at a food exchange center where she received food to feed her children; obtaining false papers with a new last name that showed she was Russian and not Jewish; returning to Gomel to look for remaining family members and being captured by the Nazis and was humiliated by Politsai for several days; being released and living with a woman named Nadia Lisitskaya; passing as a gentile refugee from Poland; washing clothes for the German army in exchange for soap and kerosene; seeing the deportation of hundreds of Jews from the Gomel ghetto; traveling with her friend, Sonia, as well as all their children to Oryol (Orel), Russia; finding a new place of stay every night so no one would suspect them of being Jewish; living with Sonia and the children at the house of a Latvian lady for two years; choosing to not wear the Star of David as was requried for the Jews by the Nazis; passing as Russian Orthodox; having a Russian lady teach her son how to pray to an icon when bombings occured; working small jobs while in Oryol; being liberated and moving to Leningrad; getting a new passport and stating her nationality as “Jewish” again; reuniting with her husband in Chkalov (possibly Orenburg, Russia) with the help of her sister; experiencing even more antisemitism after the war; and becoming more observant after the war.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Sofia Ginzbursky
interview:  1992 July 28
1 videocassette (SVHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 20:13:09
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