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Arkady Shulman

Memories of

Mark Krivichkin

Tamara Dolgopolskaya

Konstantin Karpekin

Arkady Shulman


Mark Krivichkin.
Mark Krivichkin.

Some people are not nostalgic about the places of their birth, even if they live far away from them. This is what they at least say. I do not really believe them.

I walk the streets I know so well every day and I do have nostalgia about the past.

Here, opposite the bath house, are Jewish houses, where Jews have not been living for many years. Here once lived Kopl and Mahaleya Donskoy; next to them – Tsilya Scherbakovskaya with her husband, my grandmother’s friend; then “Sore di Grobe” (Shalyt) with Abram Maganin, who lost all his family during the war. He helped “Sore di Grobe” and her family in the difficult postwar years. My best friend Boris Livshitz is from this family. Closer to the river lived Zalman Chernovsky, who was a butcher. Opposite his house there stood the house of Simon Shmulovich. Jews used to live almost in every street in Gorodok but soon no Jewish residents will be left here. It is very sad.

My grandfather Mendl Avrom-Sholom Yankelevich Krivichkin and his brother Faivl were almost illiterate but they were excellent pavers, and paved some of the town streets. I do not know who their third brother was. In 1923 he immigrated to the USA, where he opened a small hat factory in Chicago. Before the war he sent letters and money to his relatives but after the war it was quite dangerous to receive letters from abroad and thus the connection between them was lost. We have been trying to find our relatives in America for many years but in vain.

Grandmother Hana (maiden name Peisahovich) worked very little, since grandfather insisted on her leaving the job and raising the two sons: my father Iosif Mendelevich Krivichkin, born in 1912, and my uncle Abram Mendelevich, born in 1915.

After graduating from Vitebsk pedagogical university, my father returned to Gorodok, where he founded the first School of working youth.

My mother, Haya Isaakovna Krivichkina (Grabovskaya), graduated from Vitebsk Jewish pedagogical college and was sent to work in a Jewish orphanage in Aleksandrovo (now Prudniki). My sister Lisa (Yelizaveta Iosifovna Glazman) was born in 1936 and is currently living in Minsk.

When the war began mother managed to convince the grandfather to move eastwards. Grandfather said that during the First World War Germans had treated them well. He did not want to believe the rumors told by Polish refugees and was not willing to move. However mother insisted. On their trip to the east they lost Mark’s elder sister Yelizaveta in a bombing. Fortunately she was found a couple of days later. After that mother began shouting in her sleep.

I was born on Chanukah in 1948. My grandmother did not speak Russian very well and I can still remember her telling me about Chanukah in Yiddish. I spoke only Yiddish until I was five.

After graduating from school I did not need to think what I wanted to do. My father wanted me to become a doctor and I did not mind. I have now been working as a doctor for 30 years. I fell in love here, in Gorodok and started a family.

Before 1989 there still were some Jews living here but later most of them immigrated to Israel, Germany and the USA. The past will never come back to this place any more…

Mark Krivichkin

Jewish settlements in Vitebsk region

Vitebsk Albrehtovo Babinovichi Baran Bayevo Begoml Beshenkovichi Bocheikovo Bogushevsk Borkovichi Braslav Bychiha Chashniki Disna Dobromysli Dokshitsy Druya Dubrovno Glubokoye Gorodok Kamen Kohanovo Kolyshki Kopys Krasnopolie Kublichi Lepel Liady Liozno Lukoml Luzhki Lyntupy Miory Obol Oboltsy Orsha Osintorf Ostrovno Parafianovo Plissa Polotsk Prozorki Senno Sharkovshina Shumilino Sirotino Slaveni Smolyany Surazh Tolochin Ulla Verhnedvinsk Vidzy Volyntsy Yanovichi Yezerishe Zhary Ziabki

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