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Mum and daddy spoke Yiddish to each other, and we understood them, but they did not teach us to write and read Yiddish. In our family there were 3 children: my elder brother Hirsh was named in honor of my paternal grandfather and was born in 1920. The next child was me, Elena (born in 1924). My younger brother Saul was born in 1929. He was lost on November 20, 1941 in the Minsk ghetto together with our mum.

Our family did not observe Jewish traditions, but for Pesach grandfather used to come to us, bring matzah and some very tasty wine, which he asked all of us to taste.

In our house there lived both Russian and Jewish families. Russian families observed orthodox Easter. I do not remember any manifestations of antisemitism: at that time it was prosecuted. In 1937 we felt the changes when they started arresting teachers, including Jews.

This photograph was taken in Minsk in 1940, a few years before I lost every member of my family in the Minsk ghetto.

More Photos from Elena Drapkina

Alexander Drapkin (Moscow 1965)
      Elena Drapkina’s friend
          Elena Drapkina
          • with audio description
            Elena Drapkina'son (Leningrad 1949)
                Elena Drapkina (Minsk 1945)
                    Elena Drapkina's parents (Minsk 1920)
                        Elena Drapkina, her husband Wolf, and her son Alexander (Leningrad 1949)
                            Elena Drapkina's second husband (Leningrad 1960s)