What archives are telling us about

I’m traveling through the family archives. Turning the pages, watching the yellow pictures… I’ve suddenly realized, that those are not just days and years changing in front of my eyes, but  the whole epoch.

Look at this black and white picture. It was a cloudy summer day. A street in a provincial town. The war years of 40th. Soldiers in combat uniform. A young girl walks on a broken sidewalk, bringing a little briefcase under her arm. This is my mom, Anna Krasiuk. No one neither knows, how old is she on this picture (17? 18?), nor what was left behind the scenes of this image. But it is not the number of years we live that matters.

Carefree childhood in a quiet Bessarabia shtetl Zgurita: five synagogues, the mill, Jewish school and Zemstvo hospital, where doctor Haim (Efim) Krasiuk and his wife, doctor Astra Krasiuk healed people from all diseases.

The summer of 1940. The power is changing rapidly. Romanian Gendarmerie quickly leaves the city, while the Red Army solemnly enters. The French girls’ school with passionate In Iasi, where Anna studied, has closed. So, she had to get back to Zgurita and continue studies in rural school. Life seemed to be getting better. The new power was loyal to the hospital and even helped with some reconstruction. So it has passed a bit less than a year.

Things have changed on June 22, 1941. There was no time to think any more. The family quickly put their belongings into the cart and moved to the East. They worked their way at nights, on the side roads. At the daytime fascists continued to bomb the roads. Finally they reached a huge railway station. The horses were left right there, and the family pursued their way by train. For six weeks Krasiuk family moved towards East, changing the trains continuously. They travelled without any idea about their final destination.

On Kuybyshev station, the family missed their train, standing in queue for the free soup. They managed to catch the train just on the next station – Kinel. Among the documents of those years there was also one, worn down to a nub, dated as July 4, 1941: “the boarding pass of evacuation point, Smolensk station”.

Once the train stoped, there was announced, that the it won’t go any further. The family has end up on Abdulino station. Medical specialists were in high demand, and on August 18, 1941, Krasiuk Efim Moiseevich was appointed a head of Venereological point. As it is indicated in excerpt from the order N 79, “with the right of loan administration”. Krasiuk Astra Lvovna was appointed surgeon.

Soon Anna went to railway school N 35, to the 7th grade. As it can be seen from the school documents, she studied hard and was a very successful student.

But a new trouble has occurred. Once, getting back from the school party, Anna discovered an awful mess at home. “Your parents are arrested by NKVD, here was a search at your place” – said her neighbor with the tears in her voice. Next morning, Anna came to the NKVD’s walls. Through the crack in the fence, she saw a large group of people. She thought she’d seen her mother, but probably it was not her.

Many days, weeks and months of waiting have passed. All the troubles fell on her shoulders. She wrote the letters, hired the lawyers, did the prison visits. Once, an incredible thing happened: in a year her parents got free. And just two papers with the words “official status: released” and the seal “the prison of Abdulino, NKVD” are left for memory as a keepsakes about that time.

The family archives hide a lot of events and sharp life-turnes. In a separate file there are kept the documents of new era: medical degrees of Efim and Astra, their diplomas of candidates of Sciences, associate professors’ degrees. But that will be the other routes of our journey to history.

Leonid Fain (Pain). Or Akiva. Israel.


Anna Krasiuk and Efim Krasiuk (father), 1942
Anna Krasiuk, 1942