Evacuation and Escape

Leningrad Blockade

Zolotar Oleg


I am Oleg Zolotar. I was born on December 07, 1938. In 1942 my parents, my sister and I were forced to flee because of the fascist invaders approaching Belarus. In winter, December 1942, we arrived in Kazakhstan, Karaganda region, the village of Samarkandsky. Ironically, we fled from Germans and arrived to other Germans, as the village was inhabited only by German people. It was very difficult because we were Jews. They pointed fingers at my father: “look, the Jew is walking”, even though they knew his name. Older German children mocked me, they screamed in my ears. As a result, I lost hearing in one ear.

In winter 1944 trouble came to our family. Since my father worked as a cabman in coalmines of Karaganda and had to cover a distance of 45 km to the village, once he stopped for the night at the inn owned by the village. He was not allowed, they said, it was too crowdy there and there was no place for a Jew. Then my father went to look for a night lodging. It was already dark, no one opened the door. He was exhausted, so he sat down at the door of a house to relax and fell asleep. He woke up at a hospital where he had his fingers amputated on both hands, as a result of frostbite. So, there was no one to feed us because he became disabled. It was very difficult for us. It was hungry and cold. We ate at the communal kitchen and a part of the evening meal was left for the next morning.

Time passed, our life was slowly improving. In 1956, after graduating from college I became an electrician and worked in the city of Karaganda until 1998. In 1999 me and my wife immigrated from Kazakhstan to Israel. Despite my great career from 1956 to 1999, I earned my pension, but it is not given to me as Kazakhstan has refused to pay pensions to citizens living abroad.


From Joseph Skarbovsky’s book “The Children of the War Remember the Taste of Bread”, Vol.2, Israel: Studio Fresco, 2016.