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Oral history interview with Nella Radunsky

Oral History | Accession Number: 1995.A.1286.38 | RG Number: RG-50.405.0038

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Nella Radunsky (née Rubinshtein), born in 1933 in Minsk, Belarus, describes growing up alone with her mother after her father’s arrest without explanation when she was three years old; never seeing her father again (being notified in 1957 that her father was guilty of no crime); living with her grandparents until the war began in 1941; moving to Kiev, Ukraine to live with her mother’s sister; barely escaping Kiev as almost her entire family was killed by the Germans or later on by Soviet soldiers; being transported to the Urals where she and her mother spent the rest of the war in Kuibyshev (now Samara), Russia; living in one room with her mother’s sister and her three children; learning for the first time that she was Jewish and experiencing antisemitism; returning after the war in 1946 to Starokostiantyniv, Ukraine and discovering that their house and all possessions had been destroyed; how her family barely survived that winter; moving to Minsk in 1947 to live with her uncle and his second wife, who resented and mistreated them; moving from house to house; her mother facing anti-Jewish discrimination before finally finding a job; moving into a communal apartment; returning to school and being a good student, but being rejected for college because of her Jewish surname; working as a handwriting analyst in the Office of Criminology; meeting her husband Izrael when she was age 23 and he was age 27; their marriage in a civil ceremony and subsequent 35 years together; living with his aunt, then her mother in one room; having two children (Lyuba in 1957, Michael, in 1962) before they were given a small apartment; raising the children with none of the family observing Jewish holidays and traditions out of fear the neighbors would find out; the Russian “trampling” on Jewish culture and traditions; new difficulties created by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986; her son Michael, wife Alla, and granddaughter Rita immigrating to Chicago, IL in 1988; having friends at work but only discussing politics at home with close Jewish friends; leaving Russia in 1989 and arriving in Chicago in April 1990; her thoughts on their lives in Russia and her hope for her children’s future in the US; and being able to embrace Judaism in the US.

Nella Radunsky
1991 June 12  (interview)
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
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Record last modified: 2018-11-13 09:23:11
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