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Oral history interview with Vladimir Gekhter

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1286.21 | RG Number: RG-50.405.0021

Vladimir Gekhter, born in 1951 in Minsk, Belarus, describes his family and childhood as a Jew in the former Soviet Union; living in Siberia at age from age two to 16; his father, who was a military doctor; his mother, who was a dentist; being identified as Jewish and experiencing antisemitism despite the fact that he did not grow up with Jewish traditions; his father dying at an early age from cancer soon after they moved back to Minsk in 1967; not being allowed to pursue a medical career since he was Jewish; attending a polytechnical college to become an engineer; getting married to his wife Anna at age 24 in 1975 in Minsk; Anna, who is also Jewish (her grandmother observed the Jewish traditions, but Anne was embarrassed by it and the Yiddish her grandmother spoke); taking a job as a design engineer in an industrial manufacturing plant designing machines; encountering significant antisemitism and not being happy in his career advancement; trying to quit his job and expecting to take another but was not being allowed to; having a side responsibility as the manager of a farm collective and once he gained some power it was taken away from him (probably because he was Jewish and also because he would not join the communist party); applying for a visa to the United States in 1979 and being refused; applying again and being accepted in 1988; being sponsored by friends and moving from Minsk to the Chicago, IL area in 1988 by way of Vienna, Austria; living with his wife and their two sons as well as his mother in Skokie, IL.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Gekhter, Vladimir
interview:  1990 October 30
2 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, acquired from the Women's Auxiliary of the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago
Record last modified: 2022-06-23 09:47:58
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