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I remember that during the war people would call me “Zhid” (a Russian derogatory term for Jew). Minsk was already liberated, but the boys who grew up under Nazi rule, now adults, would call me “Zhid” out of habit. I remember getting into a fight in front of the Children’s Theatre. My father intervened, and he fought them back.

We went to the Automotive Technical School, which was at the Minsk Automobile Plant. My father pushed me to go to the Polytechnic Institute because he wanted me to become a builder. The director of the Polytechnic Institute was named Kravtsov, who had studied with my father and knew him well. He said, ”Kolya, a builder can work under any government.”

My father had initially studied at the Institute for Infrastructure Construction, but that was moved to Leningrad in his last year there. Since he had a wife and child in Minsk, he was unable to leave. He changed to a technical school, and he was interested in construction his whole life.

More Photos from Georgij Birger

Georgi Birger’s grandmother
      Georgij Birger with friends (?)
          The Interviewee, Georgi Birger
              Georgij Birger and his pigeons
                  Georgi Birger’s father on the athletics track
                      Georgi Birger’s father
                          Georgi Birger’s family
                              The Respondent (Georgi Birger) at Work
                              • with audio description