My father, Yefim Moiseyevich Zhidovetskiy, was born in Berdichev in 1912. He had a brother, Iosif. Both brothers were raised by their uncle and aunt who lived in Kiev. My father got married in 1930, and within a year my elder sister, Vera, was born. I was born seven years later, in 1938.
On the third day of the war, my father was called up for military service. His troops were surrounded near Kiev. My mom, Tatyana Davidovna Ganapolskaya, together with my sister and me and other families from our neighborhood, evacuated to the village of Polovinca, Chelyabinsk Region. At the end of 1941, my mom received notification that my father had been missing in action since September 1941.
When we returned to Kiev, my mom was told how my father died. After a gruesome battle with the Nazis, the Red Army surrendered, but my dad survived. He came back to the place where we used to live before the war, a district called Podol. My father did not find us home in Podol and went to a furniture factory where he used to work as an upholsterer. A female guard recognized him and told him, “Fima, stay here. I will bring you something to eat.” She left and came back with some Nazis, who took my father away. It was September 1941.
My father was killed in Babiy Yar together with the uncle and aunt who raised him.
My father’s brother, Iosif, left for Moscow and got married there. He had a son, Mikhail. When Mikhail came to Kiev after the war, he told us that his father had been killed in a battle near Oryol in 1942.
Written by Maria Rivkind, Never Heard, Never Forget: Vol. I, 2017