When she was a woman, Yelena Lembersky lived in a high-rise building on the outskirts of the Russian metropolis of Leningrad, which we often know as St. Petersburg. Her grandfather, Soviet artist Felix Lembersky, died in 1970, when she was still a child and too young to remember him. Although his work reminded him of the earliest.
On special occasions when guests came to the house, things were moved around and canvases were taken out of the cupboards and lined up along the walls. Some of them are tall like Yelena, and he likes to face them very close, working his fingers along the uneven surfaces of the layered paint.
One painting in particular caught his attention, but he did not understand what it meant. Untitled, it was often referred to as “execution”. Babi Yar ”(Also spelled Babin Yar). The painting was never exhibited in the Soviet Union, but posthumously it could certainly become one of her grandfather’s most famous works. Painted shortly after World War II, it is the first recognized depiction of what was essentially the most infamous bloodshed by dedicated Nazis on Soviet territory.
“What’s baby boy?” Yelena requested her grandmother in the future.
However, her grandmother did not respond. As an alternative, she quickly approached the painting and turned it facing the wall.
This is one of the scenes featured by Lembersky in his new guide, “Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour,” which appeared in Boston this 12 months. It is one of only a few English-language memoirs about life in Russia written by a Jewish girl in the nineteenth-seventies and ’80s.
“It took me no less than 10 years to write it,” Lambersky told The Occasion of Israel. “I didn’t think anyone would learn it… I thought I was taking time away from my family by taking the time to work on it. I thought it was an ego factor to do so.”
Although the guide has received surprising praise. Lembarsky has been interviewed on public radio nationwide in the United States and the guide was Radio Boston’s first suggestion for this 12-month summer weather study.
The story, co-written with his mother Galina Lembarsky, is a saga about his attempt to flee the Soviet Union and save his grandfather’s work from being forgotten. Additional summary works of Felix Lembersky were not exhibited within the USSR because they did not conform to Soviet ideology and the artwork known as “socialist realism” was projected to cling to Soviet artists, Yelena Lembersky. Tells.
Mother and daughter – Lembersky’s father were separated – eventually obtained visas to Israel and surrendered their Soviet passports. But as they went on, everything changed.
Lemberski’s mother was arrested for allegedly stealing three liters of rubbing alcohol from the hair salon where she worked. After a brief trial, he was found guilty and sent to prison. However, as Lembarsky points out, this was only an obvious excuse, the KGB’s punishment for attempting to escape from the Iron Curtain.
“Everyone who tried to leave the nation was seen as an enemy of the state. [The KGB found] any excuse [to arrest them]And there have been repressions,” she says.
The jail sentence was equal to the duration of his exit visa.
While her mother struggled to make a living in prison, 11-year-old Lambersky was shuffled between acquaintances, first sleeping on an aluminum cot in her mother’s co-worker’s house, then on the couch of a beneficial old lady. . To avoid being sent to an orphanage, he regularly feared that he might be asked to leave if he did something wrong. At the age of 12, she asks passersby on the street to buy milkshakes for extra change.
“After I started writing, I thought I’d write a really crappy guide regarding the Soviet Union,” Lembersky says. “For me, it’s about clearing my mother’s title. My mother still has this concocted prison case.”
However regardless of all this, the guide does not portray the Soviet Union as a rogue empire. It poetically brings back a lost world, a pastoral one that does not exist. Lambersky writes about the music teacher who gave her free classes at her home, the art college where she was taught to draw with her eraser, the neighbor who would stop borrowing some money before payday but for tea. will keep; Even the growing old drunken plumber, rumored to have beaten his spouse, is portrayed as a melancholy imaginative and a sympathetic character in the presenter. As a child, Lembarsky loved to sit on his lap, and he tells how he threw her in the air and grabbed her. She remembers telling her grandmother how she wanted her to have children of her own.
“here [in the United States] Much has been told about how terrible life was within the Soviet Union. Although many readers, especially younger ones, tell me they like how life is portrayed in my guide. It’s not stereotypes, it’s real life,” she says.
Jews within the Soviet Union
“Like a Drop of Ink in a Drop” is about a number of issues – living in the USSR as a refusionic, Soviet prisons, the relationship between a mother and a daughter – but it also touches on what is Jewish in the Soviet Union. It was like the rise of the Sangh.
As an example, Lembersky wonders why in the Historical Past class he learned about historical Greece, Rome, and Egypt, but not historical Jerusalem.
When she asks her grandmother to explain what the phrase “antisemite” means, the dialogue turns into something unusual indeed.
“In historical Mesopotamia there have been individuals known as Semites,” Grandma Solutions.
“And the anti-Semitism? Did they live across the street?” Lambersky asks.
“Maybe. Don’t repeat this phrase,” says Grandma.
The Holocaust never spoke of their home—the phrase didn’t even exist in the Russian language at the time, Lembersky observes. However, the words “pogrom” and “possession” are also never mentioned out loud, and the phrase “Jew” was mentioned in a somber tone.
“In his oral history of the struggle, revised for the peace of my mother and my thoughts, [my grandmother’s] The younger brother Levushka was not destroyed the whole time [Nazi] The capture, however, was killed at the northern entrance,” writes Lembarsky. “My grandfather’s parents were not murdered by the Nazis on shooting grounds in Ukraine, including thousands of Jews. No! They are killed in a bombing as they were trying to evacuate, en route to safety. They died swiftly and without a struggle, so we wouldn’t have to bear the heavy burden of humiliation for our good lives. ,
When studying this, one wonders whether many Jewish families within the Soviet Union stored similar secrets and techniques. And why? Was it terrible to talk of such horrors as a result? Or was it consequently a component of disrespect in speaking about those who succumbed to the Nazi genocide?
“I Feel The Explanation” [my grandmother] Didn’t communicate with regards to the Holocaust because it didn’t require us to live with this dark shadow,” says Lambersky. “However, trying again, I think knowing what happened would have made us more secure. “
There are also questions about his grandfather’s famous work. Felix Lembersky painted the massacres three times in Babylon Yar. When he portrayed this inexplicable horror, he thought of his private parents, who were murdered in Berdichev, Ukraine, Lembersky says. And people generally ask why the work doesn’t have Jewish symbols – individuals don’t have the Star of David on their coats; It is as if they are not carrying a Torah scroll of their arms.
“Why did he paint them like this? Why did he paint them bare? It can perpetuate tyranny and racism,” says Lambersky. “He was portraying his father and mother. He was portraying his mother and father. He was portraying the human condition.”
Lembersky says he hopes his guide will be translated into Hebrew and revealed in Israel.
“Twenty percent of Israel’s residents are from the previous Soviet Union. This is their story too,” she says. “It’s a Jewish story.”