I was born on March 3, 1935, in Belarus, in the town of Mozer to an observant family who spoke Yiddish. My father’s university doctorate was in Yiddish. My mother was from a family of blacksmiths, religious people. When the war began in 1941, I was 6 years old.
We deliberated fleeing to eastern Russia, but my cousins on my mother’s side grabbed me together with my mother and grandmother and forced us onto the last ship which was headed to Kiev via the Pripyat River, and from there we took the train to Stalingrad, and from there we went by camel to the village of Silitrino. We were luck that we fled at the last minute. My mother’s two sisters who remained behind with their families一about 18 people一 were killed by the Nazis in Belarus.
We were very hungry children. We dug for potatoes under the snow and that was our food. After flour is ground, the waste is fed to the cows. We would bake it like bread to keep ourselves from death, and we would also burn it to warm the home. I went to a local school and studied there until 1944. The explosions in Stalingrad reached us too and laborers were killed in the fields. Luckily the Nazis stopped in Stalingrad and didn’t continue further.
In 1944, when Belarus was liberated, we returned to Mozer. To our dismay, our home was turned into a dormitory for students. Fortunately,our uncle from Pinsk met us there, and took us to Pinsk where he helped us with accommodations.
I finished school in 1948 and went to naval engineering school in Leningrad. When I finished I went to university to become a ship captain. I married my wife Maria, a doctor in the hospital. They sent us on a military ship to the far east一 Vladivostok. Thank G-d, we had two daughters, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
I emigrated to Israel in 1991. Before that I was in Chernobyl, where I was exposed to a lot of radiation, and I was awarded a medal for bravery. If I hadn’t moved to Israel I would have long died from the radiation. But with G-d kindness I came to Israel and underwent eight complex surgeries and I was saved and continue to live in Israel. Thank G-d, I am happy to participate in the torah classes of Colel Chabad with Rabbi Gedalia in Ashkelon.