Please tell us about your career.

By profession I am a cardiologist. I worked in the cardiology department of the Chelyabinsk Regional Hospital. At the moment I'm a pensioner. 

How long ago did you come to Canada, and why did you choose to live in North York?

We came to Canada 5 years ago. I live in the Bathurst and Steeles area, because both my daughters and their families live here. 

Where does your family come from? 

My maternal grandparents lived in Ukraine, in the town of Tulchin. It was a well-to-do family with four children, where Jewish traditions were honored. My grandfather really wanted one of his daughters to become a doctor, and with the assistance of some friends arranged for my to attend medic college in Tulchin. During the pogroms of the 1920s, my grandfather lost all of his possessions, but my mother, following his father, became a doctor. Thus, the family dynasty of doctors of four generations was founded: I also became a doctor, my two daughters, my son-in-law and my grandson are all doctors.

In the days of Stalin's repressions, my father, a journalist and deputy editor of one of the Kiev newspapers, was arrested and subsequently shot. My mother was also put in jail. I remained with my grandmother, without any means of livelihood. These were a notorious 37-38 years. In 1940, my mother was released, and she continued her studies at the Kiev Medical Institute.

When the war began, we were evacuated, together with my mother's institute, to the Urals, to the city of Chelyabinsk. The only thing my grandmother brought with her of her possessions was a Torah book. Despite facing terrible adversity and difficult circumstances, my grandmother observed all the Jewish holidays, and kept a kosher home. I remember how my grandmother took water in the basin, heated up a stone on the fire, lowered it into this basin, and thus koshered the dishes. She baked her own matzah on Passover, fasted on Yom Kippur, and taught us about our heritage. I try to convey these traditions to my grandchildren.

Where did you emigrate from Chelyabinsk?

Due to the fact that there were very few German Jews left in Germany, and the synagogues were empty since there was no one to attend them, in 1991 Germany opened its borders to the Jews of the former Soviet Union. In 1997, my mother, my husband and I, were given permission to enter Germany. By this time our children were already in Canada, where they came by invitation to work. In the German city of Chemnitz, where we were settled, there were only 200 Jews. Of these, only five were German Jews, and the rest were immigrants, mostly from the former Soviet Union.

The Synagogue in Chemnitz was burned in 1938 and rebuilt in 1961. The community was headed by German Jews who survived the Holocaust. Five years after our arrival, the number of Jews in Chemnitz increased to more than 600. In 2002, the city built a modern and beautiful building for the Jewish community, and an active Jewish community life began. We started with the main thing, educational programs for young people. We created a "Bikur Cholim” society, whose members visited the elderly and sick, brought gifts for the holidays, conducted Jewish thematic excursions to different cities of Germany, and arranged evening meetings for the elderly. Once a year we celebrated "Family Day” festival, which had activities for people of all ages: Children and youth participated in sports games, older people listened to the wise words of the Torah, a Jewish choir performed, young talents participated in a drawing contest, etc.

Thanks to the help of the Central Council of the Jews of Germany and Rabbi Marcus Ebel from Switzerland, we managed to organize a multi-day theoretical and practical seminar for the Hevra Kadisha, the Jewish burial society which ensures that Jewish funerals are conducted according to Jewish law.

I would like to express tremendous gratitude for Sigmund Rothstein, an amazing man, a German Jew who survived the Holocaust, who for 40 years headed the Jewish community of Chemnitz, and Ruth Roher, a teacher of Judaism, who succeeded Sigmund after his retirement. I also want to mention Renata Arist, who also survived the Holocaust, who still travels throughout Germany to lecture about the tragic events of the Holocaust.

What do you do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?

I study English. I also like music very much, and often attend symphonic music concerts.

Given the opportunity to meet anyone, who would you choose?

I would like to talk with the Jewish writer Markish Peretz, who wrote his works in Yiddish. Unfortunately, I cannot read it in the original, but I really like his work as translated into Russian.

When did you start to participate in JRCC programs? What do they mean to you and your family?

I would really like to go to Israel to visit Jewish holy places.