I didn’t know what I would be as an adult, but I had acquired a better understanding of
my heritage during my preteen years and how that might influence my future. I was a
Russian-American and a Jew. It wasn’t until after the war that the atrocities committed
against Jews was fully known in what history now calls the Holocaust, but there were
plenty of rumors, and even as young girl I listened to those in my household talk about it.
My maternal grandparents were no strangers to the fear that comes from war and
prejudices. They left their homeland during the Russian Revolution. Both were from the
village of Minsk, Belarus, not terribly far from Kiev, Ukraine. My grandfather, Benjamin
Mitnickski, married Dora Kupson at a fairly young age. In the few photographs they
carried with them, I can see why he was enamored by her pretty face, smile and long,
heavy braids. When I first saw one particular photograph, I laughed at the ankle-high,
laced boots she wore, but now they’re back in style.
My grandfather looked like a dapper young man, with a rusty-red mustache and
blondish hair; his appearance spoke volumes for his deep sense of adventure, but not for
his willingness to work hard to become a productive and contributing American. As with
so many immigrants from this period of American history, it was only because of the
unspeakable hardship in their homeland that they were able to leave their other family
members and make such a long journey on nothing but a dream of a better life.
Over the years, I’ve gathered bits and pieces of my ancestral DNA through
information gleaned from my grandparents’ records and conversations with my mother.
My grandparents, who had two young daughters to think about (my aunts Celia and Ida
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish