I wanted to tell you the story of my grandmother who is a remarkable person and true survivor.
She was born in 1933 in the Soviet Union. At the age of 4 in 1937, several members of the KGB stormed her family’s modest apartment and took her father to prison. Like many innocent victims at that time, her father was unfairly declared an enemy of the state by the Stalin regime. Sadly, my grandmother never saw her father again. Millions and millions of people were killed at that same time for that same reason by Stalin’s regime, all without justification. For the remainder of Stalin’s entire regime, my grandmother’s family lived in fear that her mother could be taken away at any minute just like her father had been. They were never safe from worry, never safe from persecution. Only after Stalin’s death in 1953 was the family finally cleared of these false charges. Sadly, this was not the only hardship my grandmother survived. She told me countless stories about her family moving from home to home, city to city, hiding and running for their lives during World War II to avoid Nazi occupation in Russia. Many of her friends and relatives were killed or shipped off to concentration camps; but unlike others that she knew, she kept running, fighting, surviving. She told me about the deep poverty she endured as a child. One particular story touched me about a time when she had to share a pair of boots between her and her mother to stay warm in a cold house in Russia in the middle of winter. Again, she persevered and survived.