African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
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grandmother Kiev 1910s Ukraine interview

My grandmother told me (when I was interviewing her for a school project) a story about how her family left Ukraine and came to the United States.

They were small farmers near Kiev; and this all happened in the early part of the (last) century. My family was Jewish, and at that time they faced oppression by Cossack armed groups. During the period of unrest that led up to the Revolution, they heard from non-Jewish friends that there was an attack planned on their village. These friends loaned them clothes, and even gave them crosses to wear, and helped them and others leave the area.

Somehow they made it out of their district, and eventually ended up hopping a freight train whose destination was Vienna, Austria. From there they made their way to the U.S.

No one knows what happened to their old home. It would be interesting to go back someday.

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