Connecting with the past

My late father-in-law's family came from Tulchin, a town at the edges of the Ukraine.

Despite the fact that my father-in-law insisted that his family lived in Russia they came from just a few miles east from the home towns of both of my maternal grandparents.

When they lived in Tulchin the family name was Krupnik, and were millers (krupnik means barley or barley soup).

I am part of a few different online genealogy groups and yesterday I got a notice that an archive of oral histories from Tulchin was now available. I went through the list and found the name of Arkady Krupnik.  I don't read Russian but we live in the age of Google translate, so I cut and pasted chunks of Arkady's testimony into the translate box and heard the voice and words of my husband's cousin.

It's a whole lot to read, nearly 100 pages.  I was charmed by his descriptions of making matza before the Nazi's (and the Communists) fully came to power. When Jews were able to they baked matza together as a community in the open, then in secret and finally a community member would be dispatched to Riga to buy matza in secret for the town's Jews.

 I loved that Arkady's father was a Communist who fasted on Yom Kippur and made sure to go to services on the High Holidays.

This interview took place in 2005. I'm not sure if the hard living Arkady is still alive. I hope that my husband will try to connect to his Tulchin cousins.


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