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       Date Last Updated: 18-May-2012

Vitebsk Families Stories and Pictures


The Robak Family

This information was donated by CR

In the picture below CR's Grandfather, Dr Zygmunt Robak is in the middle. He studied in the Vitebsk Gymnasium in 1868. He graduated with honors and the gold medal. In tsarist times the medal was made of real gold. Therefore he sold it and used the money for his first year expenses at Karkhov Medical School. He cared for rich children and gave injections to pay for his second year. He participated in the Russo-Japaneses war, in the rank of a lieutenant colonel, and his wife Maria nee Rafalski, a talented pianist, was possibly of Khazar (Ashkenazim) descent.

The boy on the right side of the picture below is Wladyslaw Robak (later a cavalry captain), the uncle of CR. He used to play the cello with a family friend from Khakov, Isaac Dunaievskij. (The latter became a well known Soviet composer of film music, was a favorite of Stalin’s, and did the musical work for the soviet film “The Whole World is Laughing”. CR has tried to obtain further information about him, but has had problems with Ukrainian researchers.