Euroasian Jewish News
New Book of Memoirs Published by EAJC
"From little Tel-Aviv to Moscow": a book of memoirs by Leah Trahtman-Palhan (1913-1995) has been published as part of the project "Euro-Asian Jewish Congress Library" in the "Bridges of Culture/Gesharim" publishing house.
These memoirs possess an unusual fate. In 1922, parents brought the nine-year old Leah from the Ukrainian town of Sokolivka to mandated Palestine, to “little Tel-Aviv.” And when 17, she was deported to the USSR for underground Communist activity by the British authorities. It was only in 1956 that she got to visit Tel-Aviv again – she was allowed out of the Soviet Union for a few months to see her relatives. And in 1971, Leah with her husband and son finally returned to Israel.
The phenomenal memory of the memoirist has preserved many names and events, small everyday details, through which the past can be understood better. These reminiscences are written in a good literary manner, and dramatization is noticeably absent, despite the tale being told of a life which was both difficult and full of danger.
These memoirs were first published in Hebrew, in two volumes - “From Little Tel-Aviv to Moscow” (1989) and “Forty Years of an Israeli Woman in the Soviet Union” (1996).
Professor Michael Chlenov, Euro-Asian Jewish Congress Secretary General, commented the publishing of book thus: “One of the directions of our publishing project is to make known the memoirs of interesting Jews who lived in the XXth century, which were previously unpublished in Russian. We want to use personal stories to get important moments of national history across to the current generation. The memoirs of Leah Trahtman-Palhan are, first and foremost, an interesting, compelling read. And they also represent a unique view on part of the history of Soviet Jewry – the view of an 'insider foreigner.'
And another, personal, moment. The eldest son of Leah Trahtman-Palhan was my Hebrew teacher. Moshe Palhan is the founder of the USSR system of teaching Hebrew. He created the concept and wrote the learning materials. All subsequent Soviet teachers counted off their generations from Moshe Palhan. I was in the second generation... Basically, Hebrew owes its existence in Soviet Moscow to the Palhan family.”