Author: Vyacheslav Krasner
It was July 1941. The front line was rapidly approaching Tiraspol. The Jews left the city as best they could. My grandmother, Evgenia Abramovna Rashkovan (Buiko), her children - twelve-year-old Shura and three-year-old Anechka, her sister Anna Buyko and her mother Leya left the city, hiring a wagon drawn by one horse. Their path ran through the Odessa region towards the RSFSR.
The journey lasted several days, and finally, they reached a large railway station. The large station square was packed with Jewish families, waiting for the opportunity to board the train and escape from the rapidly advancing Nazis. The cars stood on the tracks, but there was no steam locomotive to them, and no one knew if there would be one at all.
Gone are the long hours of waiting and uncertainty. Children were crying, adults were nervous, waves of fear enveloped the station. The sounds of artillery cannonade became clearly audible, it was obvious that very soon the Nazis would capture the city.
(Anna, Eugenia's sister told).
And then Evgenia, taking her daughter in her arms, together with her sister Anya went to the head of the station. Entering his office, they saw a well-fed healthy uncle sitting at a large table. His indifferent bureaucratic eyes did not bode well.
“There is no steam locomotive and there won’t be!” - he said.
“There are several reasons why they will shoot me and my family,” Yevgenia told him: “We are Jews, my husband is a communist and he is at the front (grandfather Ruvin left to fight on June 23), try to understand those people at the station!” The stationmaster was adamant. "No locomotive," he repeated.
And suddenly a little Jewish woman with a girl in her arms turned into a warrior woman! There was a massive inkwell on the official's desk. In a calm voice, Evgenia said that now with this inkwell she would break this man's head. “You will be jailed,” he chuckled. Everything happened instantly. Once! and a heavy device flew into the bureaucrat's head. Tom was very lucky - ten centimeters and he would have become a corpse. The inkwell had shattered over his shoulder, he was covered in ink from head to toe, shaking with fear. "Tyu, what a saying"! he shouted, stuttering. “There will be a steam locomotive for you, just get out of here as soon as possible!”
After about an hour, the heating wagons were opened and people filled them to capacity. A locomotive was brought in and hundreds of Jewish families were saved. A few hours later, the station was occupied by the Nazis. A family from Tiraspol was traveling in the same car with Evgenia, they said that they saw her husband among the retreating soldiers and that he was looking for her and the children. This was the last time she knew anything about Ruvin.
After long ordeals, Jewish families landed in the city of Chkalov (Orenburg). They were placed at the school, each family was given a piece of living space in the gym. Thus began their life in evacuation. Evgenia earned something by cleaning at school, Anna went to work at a military factory.
There was practically nothing to eat, the children were starving. Isaac Nacht, a Polish Jew - an officer, fell under the partition of Poland and was sent to Chkalov, to a labor camp. In Poland, he graduated from a commercial college, and since the military plant increased significantly, and there was no accountant, Isaac began to work in the accounting department. There he met Eugenia's sister Anna and a feeling of love arose between them. Isaac helped Evgenia get a job as a machine operator and she began to receive a work card.
Not far from the plant was the small village of Berdy, where Pushkin once lived, collecting materials for The Captain's Daughter. There was once the headquarters of Yemelyan Pugachev. Yevgenia rented a room in the village, sent Anechka to a kindergarten, and twelve-year-old Shura, as an adult, was ordered by the authorities to work at the plant at the machine tool for a full shift.
The boy fell from weakness, ran away, they caught him and again put him behind the machine. The plant produced tanks for tank fuel. Prisoners of war worked in the workshops, who were not fed at all, how they got their own food - no one knew, but they often died. These were the Magyars who fought in the Wehrmacht. Evgenia met one of them while working nearby and fed him from her meager work ration. In return, every day at the end of work he knocked down sleds from the boards (supposedly for Anya), and Evgenia heated the stove with them, because the cold was wild, and the baby did not have warm shoes and clothes. This prisoner survived, went home to Hungary, and for many years our family had his gift - an aluminum soldier's bowler hat. And since Shura did not reach the height of the bench, this man made a wooden bench for him and he was able to stand on it.
Later, Anya, who became my mother, recalled the constant feeling of hunger and how she ran into the hut where they rented a room, shouting: “I want to eat!” - and the owners threw her out into the street like a kitten. At the very least, they lived like this for three years.
One day they woke up from a terrible sound. Looking out the window, Evgenia saw that streams of water were rushing along the street with a wild roar, which rose very quickly. Instantly collecting the children, she climbed out with them through the attic to the roof. My mother remembered for the rest of her life this huge mass of black water, which swayed right at their feet. An impenetrable fog enveloped everything. There was no hope of salvation.
And suddenly - this voice, the voice of her sister Anna: "Zhenya, Zhenya!!" — came out of nowhere. "We are here!" shouted Evgenia and the children. It turned out that Anya begged her friend, who had a boat, to go in search of her sister and her children. A few minutes later they were in the boat, and this could be called a miraculous escape, because nothing could be seen in the fog and Anna and her friend sailed at random, calling out her sister's name.
This is how Jewish women and children survived and survived. In 1944, Tiraspol was liberated and they returned to their hometown. Anna married Isaac and moved to Chisinau. Their daughter Larisa is de jure my aunt, and de facto my older sister. Evgenia began to work at the Winzavod and raise children. She never remarried. Shurik and Anya had two sons each - Lenya and Roma Rashkovan, Slava and Sasha Krasner, their children had their own children. Evgenia, Anna, Isaac and Shura are no longer with us, but we always remember them.