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       Date Last Updated: 18-May-2012

Vitebsk Families Stories and Pictures



This information was donated by J.P.

The brother Abram USVYATSKY and sister Basya Leya USVYATSKY, originally from Dubrovno, Belarus, each moved to Vitebsk. They were the children of Chaim USVYATSKY, born 1860 and his wife, whose name is unknown. Another brother, Sholom Dovid, and his wife Rivka and their three children, remained in Dubrovno.

Basya Leya, though the youngest and born in 1901, was the first to move to Vitebsk. She left Dubrovno in 1923 to attend the Vitebsk Pedagogical Vocational School. After only a year in Vitebsk, she met and married Sergey ZOLOTARYOV, a Belarussian (non-Jewish) military officer. They wed in 1924. In 1929, they had a daughter, Luiza and in 1932 they had a son Boris, who sadly died of rickets, a Vitamin D deficiency and a common disease of the time, after only 2 months.

Prior to moving to Vitebsk, Abram, the eldest child, born in 1888 and married to Genya (surname unknown), was an office worker who joined the Communist party in 1915. Apparently, he had a falling out with the party and was deported to Siberia for printing and distributing illegal literature. After his return to Dubrovno in 1917, he got back in the good graces of the Party. He also became the director of a tinsmiths’ artel (union) called “Krasny Molot” or “The Red Hammer”. In 1929, he, his wife and 5 children, Shimon (aka Semyon), Roza, Paulina, Yankel and Masha, ranging in age from 16 to 3 years old, moved to Vitebsk.

The 1930s saw many ups and downs for the family. Basya Leya had become a geography teacher at Vitebsk School #2, earning multiple letters and reviews praising her work. Her daughter Luiza and her niece Masha attended her school. As noted above, her son Boris died as an infant. For Abram and his family, things were even more difficult. Their son Yankel drowned in 1930, only 8 years old. Semyon, who had epilepsy, was rejected for military service, and though he married Dora BARKAN in 1936, they divorced two years later in 1938. Perhaps most tragically, daughter Roza, who had married Abram DAVYDKIN in 1936, died a year later in childbirth.

In 1938, Basya Leya, her husband and daughter moved to Saint Petersburg, possibly to join one of Basya Leya’s cousins, who had moved there at around the same time. As of 1939, Abram and his family were still living in Vitebsk, at 62/1 Lenina St., Apt 4. A list of the town residents noted Abram was a builder, Semyon was unemployed, and Paulina and Masha were school students.

I would like to find out what happened to this family. Abram’s father, Chaim USVYATSKY, was the older brother of my great grandmother. Anyone with any information please contact: Judy Petersen