Moldova. The Moldova Helsinki group held a meeting in Kishinev, Moldova. It called Moldavian journalists to stop publishing materials inflaming anti-Semitism and racism.
Russia. The Jewish Union of the former USSR sent a letter to the Moscow mayor Uriy Luzhkov after anti-Semitic leaflets appeared on bus stops on Orthodox Christmas. One of the leaflets showed a Jew stabbing a man with a bandage on his eyes - symbol of the Russian people.
Russia. Tatyana Gvertsitely gave a concert in the Moscow Jewish culture centre on Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street on January 17. She confessed that she rarely sings in such little halls, where the singer is at arm's length from the audience. She sang Jewish, Georgian, and French songs (almost 10 years ago Gvertsitely became the Muse of the great maestro Legran).
Russia. Abram Smolinsky, the chief surgeon of the Israeli clinic Tel Khashomer, visited the Perm Heart Institute. In 1995 he performed the first operation on the open heart in Perm. This time the surgeon paid special attention to small patients. Two children (10 and 15 years old) have already been operated on. New technologies of heart fixation were applied during the operation. They allow operating on a beating heart without using the artificial blood supply system.
IA "Vsya Rossiya"
Russia. The family of the Israeli rabbi Dov-Ber Rabinovich presented a Torah scroll to the Samara Jewish community. The solemn ceremony of carrying the scroll into the Samara synagogue took place on January 20.
The scroll was donated to the Samara synagogue in regard of its close friendship with the family of the Jerusalem mayor Ekhud Olmert, whose father was born in Samara.
Russia. 60 years ago fascists tried to solve the "Jewish question" in one of the remote places of the Tver region - the village of Ilino, where three thousand Jews lived. Any Jew they found hidden outside the ghetto was burnt together with his house and all its inhabitants. Nevertheless, the starving people of Ilino did not give away anybody of its dwellers - they were hidden in bath-houses, cellars, and other places.
On January 24, 1942 all the survivors of the ghetto were taken out onto the frozen Ilino lake. The fascist wanted to shoot everybody and throw the bodies into an ice-hole, but for some reason the ice-hole was not ready yet. The prisoners were driven back to the ghetto in order to put the procedure off until next morning. But on January 25 the Soviet troops swept Germans away from Ilino, and it was the last day for the Jewish ghetto.
I have read the article "It is not subject to oblivion" in one of your papers. It touched me deeply because my father Aron Lipovich Gekhman was born and brought up in Romanovka. Many of our relatives and friends died there. My grandfather, who unfortunately died before my birth was buried there.
On my behalf and on behalf of all my family I want to express my great gratitude to Garry Feldman through your paper for his invaluable activities in immortalizing the memory of Jews that innocently died during the World War II. At the same time I'd like to inform that we are setting up the Memory Museum of the Holocaust victims.
The population of Murmansk, especially the Jewish one, is not native but mostly consists of the arrived people from Ukraine, Belorus, etc. Many of them or their ancestors are victims of the Catastrophe. So it is very important for us to have the book "It's not subject to oblivion".
Manager of the Murmansk center "Siyanie Khesed"
Diana Raskina (Gekhman).
From the editors.
The letter that came from distant Murmansk touched us deeply. Diana Raskina asked us to send the letter of her father Aron Gekhman to Garry Feldman with inquiries about their relatives in the town of Dzerzhinsk, Zhytomir region (former Romanovka) who perished there during the occupation. But having phoned to Dzerzhinsk we found out that Garry Feldman went for permanent residence to Israel in September, 2001.
Nevertheless, our reporter in Israel found him quickly. We immediately sent his address and telephone to Murmansk. The editors hope that Mr. Feldman will be able to answer the questions of our northern readers.
We also sent a copy of the book "It's not subject to oblivion" to Murmansk. Garry Feldman now lives in sunny Netania and keeps on gathering different materials on the Catastrophe of Dzerzhinsk Jews. He informed "Jewish Observer" that he intends to republish the enriched version of the book "It's not subject to oblivion" translated into Hebrew.
By the way, there's a program in the Israeli Ministry of Absorption that is targeted to support new creative repatriates. Among possible forms of assistance the program also provides funds for book publication. It's interesting to know that despite numerous author's publications and positive responses about the book, one member of the Ministry in the town of Netania refused to help Mr. Feldman, motivating her refusal that Mr. Feldman didn't have any member-card of the Writers' or Journalists' Union of Ukraine. "Jewish Observer" has the right to get some comments from the Ministry of Absorption on this problem, and inform you about this in the next issue.
Vilnius. Rabbi Emanuelis Zingeris wants to restore the synagogue, destroyed during the fascist occupation.
The synagogue was built in 1630. According to the rabbi's words, the restoration will cost at least $32 million. "We enter into the era of cosmic speeds, - said Zingeris, - and we very quickly forget our heritage. The Jewish ghetto should not disappear from the Jewish community's memory. The oldest synagogue in the city should be restored. This is our duty, and I will fight till the end. I will find money for this project!" Many times he appealed to the city administration and government, he repeatedly visited different institutions. At last, the authorities agreed to allot a small plot for the synagogue construction. Moreover, an interesting proposal was made as to the funding. The Jewish culture center could be restored at the cost of American and European businessmen, but it will have to bring them profit and enrich the city budget. Cafes, restaurants and entertainments could be built around the Jewish center.
However, even such a compromise variant may not pass. The Lithuanian parliament approved this proposal last year, but the government keeps the matter open for half a year so far. "Unfortunately, - Zingeris says, - this is not Manhattan, where the Jewish community is big and strong. Here I am alone, and nobody wants to help me. No doubt, it is more profitable to invest into cafes and restaurants than into restoration of historical and cultural values…"