Maya Pivovar’s father Mikhail Pivovar, mother Buzia-Rivka Freidman, Ida Chuzhaya and aunt Ida Chuzhaya

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From left to right: my mother's sister Ida Chuzhaya, nee Freidman, my father Mikhail Pivovar and my mother Buzia-Rivka Freidman. This photo was taken during a walk in Kiev in 1924. My parents told me that on their war they were joking and teasing each other and were in wonderful spirit. One can tell looking at the photo that they can hardly hold back their laughter.

My mother came from a small town of Narodichi [about 150 km from Kiev] Kiev region. My grandfather's name was Boruch-Benicion Freidman. He was born in 1878. My grandmother Malka Freidman was born in 1876. They had nine children: three sons and six daughters.

My mother Buzia-Rivka Freidman was born in Narodichi in 1902. She left Narodichi at the age of 17 looking for a better life. I don't know what she was doing before her departure to Kiev. My mother hardly told me anything about her life. In Kiev my mother entered the rabfak. She worked as a tutor in Kiev Jewish children's home and later she went to work at the garment factory in Podol. My mother met my father at the rabfak.

My father's name was Mikhail Pivovar. He came from Kornin Zhytomir region [about 160 km from Kiev]. My father's parents died from some disease and hunger in 1919. I don't know exactly where this happened. All I know about them is that my grandfather's name was Yakov. My father had eight brothers and sisters, but I have no information about them and don't even know their names. My father was the youngest. He was born in 1904. He finished four years of the Russian state school in Kornin. There was an annual quota in this school for one Jew to be admitted each year. My father managed to enter this school and finish it. My father was 15 years old, when his parents died. He had to earn his living somehow. He became a teacher. So, in 1919 he was a teacher. My father traveled from one village to another where he had pupils who were children of wealthier farmers, or kulaks, as they were called at the time. He taught them to read and write in Russian. Then he moved to Kiev. I don't know how it happened or why, he probably told me, but I don't remember. My father entered a rabfak school and worked as a clerk in the regional pharmacy department. My father was a very nice person and a very sociable one. Everybody liked him. He met my mother in 1925 and they got married. They didn't have a traditional Jewish wedding. They were the children of their time and didn't observe any traditions. My parents lived not far from where my father was working, in the center of the city, in a communal apartment with neighbors.

My father worked in the regional pharmacy department till the middle 1930s, I guess, before he went to work at the Kiev experimental institute of endocrinology. He was production manager. In Ukraine, and probably in the USSR there were two such institutes: one in Kharkov and one in Kiev. My father finished the extramural department of the Pharmaceutical College in Kiev. In 1941 he failed to take state exams due to the war and he never obtained a document about graduation from this college. My mother continued to work at the garment factory where he was promoted to the position of a forewoman and she earned well already. My parents earned well and we were a family of an average wealth. We didn't live in luxury, but we were not needy either.

My mother's sister Ida Freidman was born some time in 1904. I don't know whether she had any education. In the 1920s she left Narodichi for Kiev and settled down not far from where her sister Sophia lived. Ida went to work as a seamstress at the garment factory. In the late 1920s she married one of my maternal grandmother's distant relatives. His name was Solomon Chuzhoy. Ida had a Jewish wedding with a chuppah. They had two children: a son and a daughter.

Interview details

Interviewee: Maya Pivovar
Oksana Kuntsevskaya
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Kiev, Ukraine


Mikhail Pivovar
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Kornino village (Zhytomir region)
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after WW II
before WW II:
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