March 5, 2013...So What?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408

Today is March 5, 2013. By middle of the day, I couldn’t resist the temptation and asked my wife whether there was any significance in this date. She thought for a moment and then said that she could not remember anything, so she assumed that there was nothing worth remembering…

It all depends.

60 years ago today the Father of Peoples Joseph Stalin died.

March 5, 2013... So What?I was 2 years old, so no recollection of the event. My mom told me that she was crying. Actually, the whole huge country was crying. People were scared. They were afraid that something very bad would be happening to them, to the country…

It is hard to understand how the People devastated by terror, were so loyal and devoted to the tyrant, but hey, don’t dogs lick the beating hand? And don't beaten children hug their abusers?

Did Stalin's death have anything to do with me?

It did. It did big time.

60 years ago like so many other Jews in the Soviet Union, we were waiting for the exile to Siberia. My parents were fired a few days before… We had suitcases (1 small suitcase per person) ready and were waiting for the order to board a special train. My dad, my mom, my 9-year old brother and me…

Now, many years later I know that Stalin's order was that only 20% of all Jews sent to Birobidjan in Russian Far East were supposed to make it there alive, and the rest of them were to be stopped in the remote areas on their long journey through Siberia and shot by soldiers.

Would we have made it? 

What I love about it is that Olga couldn’t even remember the date… It is no longer significant. It is no longer a date that your life is hinging upon…

And this is the best thing that could happen.

60 years ago nobody could even dream about it. That their lives are their lives, and they are not worthless pawns in the hand of a tyrant.

It was ages ago… it was just yesterday.

I can afford not remembering it now... but I do.

I am celebrating his death...

Photo by snowlepard via Flickr.com

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Pamela Seley 03/06/2013 02:55 AM
  2. Beth and Richard Witt 03/09/2013 11:14 PM
  3. Inna Hardison 03/11/2013 08:32 AM
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
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Richard & Beth - I fear the same. As time goes, atrocities are further from us, and are fading from our memory. And it is dangerous

Mar 10, 2013 12:42 AM #40
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Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
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Jon, While I applaud you for remembering (the whole history is doomed to repeat itself aspect), not remembering is actually a sign that we've moved on, we're in a better place and it no longer occupies a huge space in our heart and minds. Still, we need people like you to remind us. Good job!

Mar 10, 2013 01:21 AM #41
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Jill - of course. And I was very glad that Olga couldn't even remember what it is. Of course, Olga is ethnic Russian, and her world was different and she had little or know lnowledge of these things until we became a family.

Mar 10, 2013 01:47 AM #42
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Hella Mitschke Rothwell
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Jon: When my family immigrated to Canada, I was astonished to learn that Germans were hated by other European immigrants. After the war, they did not teach recent history in German schools and my family never talked about the war in front of us kids,  I had no clue until I took history in my new Canadian school.

Mar 10, 2013 03:17 AM #43
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Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN
Jon, this is a very moving post! Hard to imagine that the US press was referring to him as "Uncle Joe" once we became part of the same coalition during WW II. Thank God you and your family, along with hundreds of thousands of others were spared with the sudden end of Stalin's Regime! Little wonder you remembered the date! Jon, did you ever dream in your lifetime that the Soviet Union would cease to exist?
Mar 10, 2013 05:02 AM #44
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Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

What an amazing read.  Yes, we are forget all too soon.  And I can see the manifestation of our forgetfulness creeping in slowly.  Sad.  I shared this with my son.  He was born on March 5.

Mar 10, 2013 08:43 AM #45
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Hella - my mom ended the war in a military Hospital where she had the rank of Captain in Tajikistan. She was a military doctor. Tajikistan and other Central Asian Republics of USSR were also a place of exile for some nations that were not favored by Stalin, and part of Russian Germans fro the Volga Region were sent there.

My brother is 7 years older than me. When he was 5 years old, he was invited with other kids to neighbor's kid birthday. At the party somebody asked him what he wants the most, and he said that he dreams of a machine gun, and then he would shoot every German, and he made this gesture as if he was shooting people, and said "tra-ta-ta-ta-ta".

My mom did not know where to hide as these people were Germans. I can only imagine how bad it was for them, while there was no fault of any of them.

But right after the war hatred of Germans was everywhere and in everything... And can you blame a kid who lost both his grandparents?

Mar 10, 2013 08:48 AM #46
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Bruce - I remember that in late 70s, probably in 1978 I was talking to a good friend of mine and in a moment of opennes he asked me whether I implied that our regime would end somewhere in the very remote future. He felt it in my tone, and could not believve I actually thought this way.

I told him that there will be the end, but he could not even allow the thought that it could happen within the next 100 years. We were both very alert and concerned. He because he listened to me and did not report, which could cost him his career and party membership (luckily by that time it was no longer life, like 30 years before). Me, that if he reports, I would be fired and in a small city in the Arctic if you are fired on political grounds, where would you go?

Plus, it would sure have ended up my wifes successful career in education. She was a member of the Communist Party or she would not have had this career.

How smart are we now and how gloomy was it then and even the idea of things changing was unbearable and scary. Popular "kitchen" talks when people discussed things, were not about changing the regime. They were about changing the way the regime is working, changing the inefficiency of everything... It was about removing idiots and rewarding good people, and even when caught and accosted by KGB, people would defend that they wanted better communism, or they wanted real communism, and they wanted to expedite the move to the great future...

But not change it.

Mar 10, 2013 09:00 AM #47
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Carla - what a coincidence. I gave it to my older grandson (nearly 21), he read and said "great". I was puzzled. Feels as if he read it as a piee of fiction, or, worse, a poiece of science fiction

Mar 10, 2013 09:01 AM #48
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Hannah Williams
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Jon  Wow that is amazing piece of history ..I never knew this ,,you always learn something in the Rain

Mar 10, 2013 01:02 PM #49
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Hannah - the history that connected with me, whether I wanted it or not

Mar 10, 2013 04:11 PM #50
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Inna Hardison
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Sorry for the belated, daddy. This was a bit like reading fiction, even for those of us who should have known better. I wish you had told us some of this at least when we were growing up. Shane read it. There is a hug and conversation for you from the little one next time he sees you. As for me - no words, daddy. Strange how life works, but for what it's worth, very happy you didn't get on that train. March 5th has a whole new significance now. xoxo
Mar 11, 2013 08:31 AM #51
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Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
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I can understand why you are celebrating his death and I can see why you remember if though you don't so to speak. We should all remember so that history never repeats itself. 

Mar 11, 2013 08:57 AM #52
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Inna - my mom avoided speaking about it with me. She knew that if she would, how would she shut my mouth so that I do not go and start telling others around me about the regime? What would have happened to me? I had enough of my own conflicts, and the last one I needed was an anti Soviet one...

And what if you knew it when you were in your tumultuous 15? What would you do with this information? Would you be able to keep your mouth shut? I doubt it.

And ask your mom, these tings were said, they were mentioned, and not once, and not twice, but they were not pushed and they bounced of you, you did not notice them. When I asked you to read Baby Yar to Daniel, so that he start understanding the history, what did you say? You said that they did not learn it at school, and he does not know much about WWII.

But it is not a book history, it is a history of the family, where innocent people died. Bot h is Hitler's hands and in Stalin's hands.

You know your uncle Shura. Of course, you do. But do you know that in 1952 he was hiding from Stalin's hands after his father was sent to GULAG. And that my mom was hiding him?

There are many things that you do not know. I was figuring it out, and I knew some of it, but not from my mom.

You had a normal life, and you did not know. No fault of yours You were not supposed to know. It spelled trouble, and you did not need it.

It is all over now, at least here in America. I simply want you to understand that there was way more than just an adventure in your mom's decision to emigrate. And she is ethnic Russian, as you, of course, know. But she was afraid for your future in the Soviet Union/Russia.

Little Shane is an American. Probably a lucky one. As it could all have been different if the tyrant did not die on March 5, 1953.

Our live could be very different... meaning that there could be no lives for us in store...

Mar 11, 2013 12:39 PM #53
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Shar - it is a very personal history for me. And it could be no history for me, and subsequently no my kids, and no my grandchildren

Yes, it is history, and yes, it is very personal

Mar 11, 2013 01:00 PM #54
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Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
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Jon,

I just found out that you have a daughter whose name is Inna too. Is she still around. I see she stopped blogging in the rain. What is she up to these days?

Apr 13, 2015 11:03 AM #55
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
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Inna Ivchenko - she and her husband run a 2-people marketing company. Doing hi-end websites for successful agents (not me :) Inna finally started writing proze. She is a born writer. Actually, she wrote verses back in Russia, but it was only when she was sick and tied to bed, as other time she was too active with kids stuff and wouldn't write. But she is very talented. You can check her old posts, she had a few absolutely wonderful posts there

Apr 13, 2015 01:09 PM #56
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Inna Ivchenko
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I know:) I tried to locate someone for contest and landed on her page. I saw her last blog last year and read few others. She is a talented writer, no doubt:)

Apr 13, 2015 04:28 PM #57
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
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Inna Ivchenko - It is funny, but in our family my wife and I speak Russian at home, my son Vadim is truly bilingual and is equally good with both languages, and Inna is thinking and speaking in English, and sometimes I notice that when she speaks Russian, she translates from English. Even though she speaks Russian fluently, it still is second to English.

Funny because Vadim was 19, when we came to US and Inna was 18. But they are very different.

Apr 15, 2015 08:10 AM #58
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Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
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My kids ''translate too'. I noticed my son now listens to some Russian video blogs, so it improves his vocabulary a lot. He is 18;)

Apr 15, 2015 04:47 PM #59
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