By Max Michelson
It is a stirring and haunting own account of the Soviet and German occupations of Latvia and of the Holocaust. Michelson had a serene boyhood in an higher middle-class Jewish relatives in Riga, Latvia Chr(45) a minimum of till 1940, while the fifteen-year previous Michelson witnessed the annexation of Latvia via the Soviet Union. inner most homes have been nationalised, and Stalin's terror unfold to Soviet Latvia. quickly after, Michelson's relations used to be torn aside via the 1941 Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. He speedy misplaced his whole kinfolk, whereas witnessing the unspeakable brutalities of conflict and genocide. Michelson's memoir is an ode to his misplaced relations.
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Additional resources for City of Life, City of Death: Memories of Riga
Conservatives and Hasidim also favoured a Hebrew educational system, but of a religious kind. 7 The interaction of the different religious, cultural, and political currents represented in the Jewish community of Riga stimulated a vibrant intellectual atmosphere. After the Soviet takeover, the operation of Jewish organizations in Russia was largely proscribed, and much of the Russianoriented Jewish activity relocated to Riga. On the eve of World War II, Riga was an important center of Jewish life in Eastern Europe.
Real coffee was a delicacy reserved for afternoon teas with important visitors. Breakfast often included soft-boiled or fried eggs, generally only one to a person, and hot oatmeal porridge was sometimes served. There was a firmly held opinion that although eggs were healthful, they were to be consumed only in moderation. Eating more than one egg a day was not deemed advisable. I no longer follow these proscriptions, but I 36 GROWING UP JEWISH IN PREWAR LATVIA think the admonition about moderation in general, and eggs in particular, is good advice.
Kaplan, like my grandfather Max, was a merchant of the Second Guild. Under the Tsarist regime, Jews were not permitted to change their names from their original given Jewish ones. Accordingly, he is listed in the 1914 Riga City Directory as Yankel Hirsch Kaplan. The father of two teenage children from his first marriage, he was a self-made man from an impoverished background who had built up a substantial business. Jakob Kaplan was a renaissance man with wide-ranging eclectic interests—a brilliant but difficult and self-centered person.