Grigoriy Yasinover

Grigoriy Yasinover
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This is Uncle Grisha, Grigoriy Yasinover. He was married a few times, but he did not have any children. Uncle Grisha had a printing house; it was the main interest in his life. When the communists nationalized it, he took the loss very hard. Later we got a letter from Uncle Grisha's housekeeper, saying that he was ill. He was sent to a nursing home in Denmark, where he died at the beginning of the 1960s. My father also had a print shop in Shanghai, and he had orders from the Polish Embassy in China to print an advertising catalogue, because Poland wanted to recover trade with Japan and China. Father was in Poland preparing the catalogues on September 1, 1939. We never saw him again. We had been waiting for permission to go to the USA and we got it at the end of 1939. My mother believed that Father return from Poland and that he would not find us if we left for the USA, so we stayed in Shanghai. I met my future husband, Paul Zauer, in 1942. My relatives did not like it that he was Russian, and his relatives did not like it that I was Jewish. To us, it did not matter. We were going out for almost two years, and our parents accepted it in the end. My husband and I were married for 44 years. The national question was never a cause of quarrel or difference of opinions between us. In Harbin, I had been a member of the Zionist youth organization Betar. Paul and I were active members of the Soviet club in Shanghai. It was a very interesting and merry place. After the victory in Germany, later in Japan, the prestige of the Soviet Union grew, especially among the Russian-speaking population of China. In 1948, the Soviet Government said all interested Russian-speaking people could depart for the USSR. We decided to go to this remarkable country, which defeated fascism, where all people had equal rights and all people were heroes. We were not afraid of the difficulties. Instead of Vladivostok, our ship arrived in the port Nakhodka. We were told: 'Choose! Siberia or the Urals.' We were afraid of Siberia and we decided to go to the Urals. We lived through this period thanks to my mother. She went shopping, stood in lines, bought food, sold our things - our clothes, porcelain - prepared meals, looked after my child, and encouraged us with Jewish humor. Our neighbors in the Urals had been deported from Estonia. They helped our family assimilate to the new conditions of our everyday life. After the amnesty in 1953, our Estonian friends went back to Estonia. They said we should go live there. From 1953, we too could move wherever we liked, except the capital cities. So we found ourselves in Estonia, in the town Kohtla-Jarve, where I have been living since 1953. We would probably be fully assimilated by now, if it were not for my mother. She lived with us until her death in 1962. She kept the house, and helped us bring up our son. She didn't let us forget that we were Jews. She told our son about her family, Jewish traditions and holidays; she cooked Jewish dishes. Thanks to my mother, my son and his children realized that they are Jews.

Interview details

Interviewee: Sarah Zauer
Aleksandr Dusman
Month of interview:
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Kohtla-Jarve, Estonia


Grigoriy Yasinover
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Year of death:
Country of death:
after WW II
before WW II:
Print-shop owner
after WW II:

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