Melech, Elkeh, Dora, Fanya, 1941
Location of this photo is unknown. The precise date is June 24, 1941. Chilllingly, the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union on June 22. They are plainly dressed. Both Dora and Fanya would become committed Communist Party members. Fanya became a physician. Amnon writes on the back of the photo that there is a note in Yiddish from "Uncle Ersh, our grandmother Pearl's brother."
Elkeh and Frida
Frida Rosenberg, daughter of Elkeh's sister Malkeh. She would have been Elkeh's niece
The five daughters of Solomon and Perel, c. 1906
Front row left to right: Malkeh, Perel, Malieh (on lap); Solomon. Back row: Esther, Goldeh, Elkeh. Date of the photo is a guess, based on Malieh appearing to be four years old. She was born in 1902. It is tempting to think the photo was taken to send to David, who had emigrated to America in June, 1906.
Fanya, Dora and Golya, 1939.
On the back is written, "To dear Uncle Joseph and his family from your nephews Fanya, Dora and Golya, 18 November 1939."
Two families in wartime, 1942
In front row, left to right: Solomon Rosenberg, in uniform; Malieh; Elkeh; Melech Perelroisen. Back row: Lidia, daughter of Solomon and Malieh; Fanya, daughter of Melech and Elkeh; and Danya [David], son of Solomon and Malieh.We don't know where this was taken. Perhaps in a place to where the two families had evacuated after the German invasion and push to the east.
Fanya, 1942
Fanya in uniform. She served in the Red Army.
Sasha Shamachmudov c. 1945
Sasha Shamachmudov was an Uzbek who met Fanya during the war. According to Michael Perov, son of Dora, Fanya's sister, the two married in 1943, and produced a daughter, Luda. After the war Sasha and Fanya separated, but there is no record of an official divorce. Sasha, as this photo testifies, was a dashing officer in the Red Army.
Fanya, Sasha Shamachmudov, Luda, and Yulia, Chernigov, 1978
Remarkable photo which shows the continuing contact between Fanya and the father of her daughter, Luda. "He had another family in Uzbekistan, he worked in a pharmacy," is Michael Perov's memory. Contact was lost in the 1990's. Fanya's grip on Sasha's arm seems a little tentative. Yulia, then 10, is Luda's daughter.
Melech Perelroisen, husband of Elkeh
Date unknown. He has a fierce and determined look.
Malieh and Elkeh c. 1952
Left to right: Elkeh, Luda; Malieh; Fanya
Fanya and Dora as young women
They look to be about 20 in this shot.
Elkeh with extended family, including Perovs, 1954.
Front row: Dora, Elkeh, Luda (daughter of Fanya), Alexei Perov, (husband of Dora). Back row: Svetlana Perov, Fanya, Katya Perov. Svetlana's and Katya's mother was Manya Perelroisen. Manya Perelroisen was a cousin of Dora's who died in 1950. Her father was a brother of Melech's. Alexei was stationed in Dzigovka, which (as of 1996) has a large base. He met the Perelroisen family while stationed there.
A family gathering in Odessa, 1977
Descendants of three of the four surviving family lines in Russia get together in Odessa. I don't know the occasion, but I am impressed that it took place. The lines represented are: Elkeh, Joseph, and Malieh. Goldeh's line no longer existed. The line of Malkeh was not there. David and Esther were in America. In the photo, bottom row left to right: Fanya; David (Danya), son of Malieh; Malieh; Solomon Rosenberg, husband of Malieh, holding Yulia, daughter of Luda, granddaughter of Fanya; and Lidia Brenner, daughter of Malieh and Solomon. Standing in the back row, left to right: Shura, Amnon's wife; Herman Khused, husband of Luda, father of Yulia; Dora; Amnon; Luda; and Kostya Brenner, husband of Lidia.
Three lines in Odessa, 1977
Front row: Amnon, Shura, Solomon Rosenberg, husband of Malieh. Back row: Fanya and Dora.
Luda, Fanya and family, 1978
Standing: Luda and her husband Herman Khused. Seated: Luda and Herman's daughter Yulia. The date is 1978. Probably taken in Chernigov, Ukraine. Herman died in 1990, at the age of 54. His family blamed exposure to the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, 50 miles to the west of Chernigov.
Dora and Elena Perov, 1988
Taken on the day of the wedding of Elena to Michael Perov, son of Dora and Alexei: Dec. 24, 1988. They were married in Moscow.
Michael Perov, 1991
He is 35 in this photo.
Michael and Elena, on New Year's Eve, 1992
Photo was sent as a toast to the American relatives.
Fanya and Mike, Chernigov, 1996
This was another emotional meeting with Maidenberg family descendants. Fanya was the daughter of Elkeh.
Fanya as a young woman
Date unknown. Fanya was born in 1920.
With Luda at grave of Elkeh, 1996
Elkeh's grave and that of her husband Melech are plain and unadorned. The cemetery itself is weedy and untended.
Alexei Perov, 1974 or 1975
Alexei fought in the Battle of Stalingrad and through Germany. He was a lifelong military man. This photo was placed on his grave during his funeral.
A family gathering, probably Dora's 40th birthday, Moscow, 1964
Left to right: Fanya, Alexei Perov, Rozita (wife of Fima, mother of Dima), Mikhail, Dora
Aleksei Perov, Dora's husband
Alexei Perov, though not Jewish, married Jewish women. He was a military officer stationed in Dzygovka, where he met the Maidenbergs and their relations. He married Dora after the war, in 1950. Their son is Michael Perov.
Fanya, year unknown
Image provided by Fima.
Elkeh, year unknown.
You can see her strong, intelligent face. One can detect the Maidenberg lineage.
Yulia Khused Gorbunova, year unknown
Yulia is the daughter of Luda, grand-daughter of Fanya. She lives in Moscow and is an outstanding scientist. She is a professor of chemistry.
Elkeh and Luda, 1952
The proud grandmother with her granddaughter in Odessa, 1952.
Fanya, probably just after the war
She was a much-decorated battlefield doctor in the Red Army. She had seen a lot.
Dora on June 24, 1941, the day of her graduation from secondary school
A face of innocence and youth at the beginning of the Great War.
Michael, Luda, Fanya, Dora, Elkeh family group, Chernigov, about 1967
The matriarch with her happy family. The photo was taken in the yard of Elkeh's home.
Fanya with medals, 1977
The top medals are for "Distinguished Service" and "Victory over Germany." The bottom medals are commemorative, the 20th and 30th anniversaries of victory. She was a battlefield doctor. "After the war Fanya would come to Moscow every 9th of May for Victory Day. She met her colleagues from the front," Michael Perov recalls.
Elkeh, Fanya and little Luda, probably 1946
Proud grandmother.
Elkeh with a look of determination, date unknown
Date unknown. There is a clear "Maidenberg" look in her visage.
Elkeh and Melekh as a young couple, pre-revolution, i.e. before 1917
What a life they would have together.
Michael Perov, 2011
On vacation in Croatia.
Polina Perov, 2014
Polina is the daughter of Michael Perov, granddaughter of Dora, and great-grandaughter of Elkeh.
Dora in Kyrgyzstan after evacuation, 1941-42
Like thousands of Russians, Dora and her family fled east after the German invasion. They wound up in Kyrgystan. Dora is on left. The other woman is unknown. The story of how the family escaped can be found in the essay "World War II: Stories of death and survival" in the FAQ section. Click on image to read.
Dora at a May Day celebration, May 1, 1939
May Day was celebrated as International Workers' Day by the Communists in the Soviet Union and Socialists in many countries. Dora is on far right, taking a sip.
Dora and a group at a sanatorium, probably near Chernigov or Kiev, January 1941
Dora is in the second row up, to the right of the man wearing a flat round fur hat. She is wearing a winter hat that looks like a pilot helmet. A sanatorium or "pansionate" in Russia is a kind of spa or health camp, and does not necessarily imply medical treatment.
Dora and friends at the sanatorium, January 1941
She is young woman in the middle. Her friends, according to an inscription on the back, are Olya, Svetlana and Nikolai.
Two sisters and their brother in Kishinev, 1957
Standing left to right: Malieh, Luda, Elkeh. Seated: Joseph and Sarah (diminutive Sonya). There is a note that Joseph and Sarah were both 73 years old, and both were still working.

Elkeh Maidenberg and Melech Perelroisen

Elkeh lived in the Soviet Union (in Chernigov, Ukraine) during the time of the letters from her older brother Joseph, but unlike her younger sister Malieh, Elkeh never corresponded. We do not know why, but it is possible she and her husband Melech Perelroisen were politically aware, and were cautious about exposing any links to America.

The upshot is we see Elkeh through the eyes of her brother Joseph, and the recollections of Amnon and of her grandson Michael Perov.

Elkeh was born in Dzygivka in 1892 and died in Chernigov in 1973.

Elkeh, often called by her diminutive Olya or Olga, was vivacious and bright. She was a family favorite. She obtained a university education in Odessa (underwritten in part by David), then became a teacher who instructed shtetl children how to read and write.

She married Melech Perelroisen, whose brother Moishe married her sister Esther, and who changed his name to Morris Rosen after emigrating.

His grandson Michael Perov noted that Melech worked in the State Saving Bank as a head of its regional department in different cities until his death in 1947.

We know also that Melech helped family members escape slaughter after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.

Elkeh and Melech had two daughters, Fanya and Dora, both committed Communist Party members.

To Amnon, Elkeh was a wise and good-hearted woman, but “Her fate was very tragic.”

Joseph’s second wife Anna recalled how he suffered “from the tragedy of his sister Olga, who was considered in the family to be the most noble, wise and good person. Regardless of her outstanding personality she was unhappy in her life, and Joseph called her ‘the great martyr.’ Already more than three years, she is being completely confined to her bed, paralyzed and helpless. In addition to that she became blind and is nothing but a living dead. He loved this sister very much, but could do nothing to help her.”

Joseph himself wrote in March, 1970:

The whole month of February I and my wife were off in a health resort home for a cure. Then having received the sad news that my sister Olya got very ill, we went to the town where she lives in and stayed there also for almost a month. She has got a cerebral congestion and is getting now necessary treatment in a hospital, but the doctors say that there is little hope she’ll recover from her paralysis. You can imagine how heavy my heart is.

She was a very intelligent, cheerful, and good-natured woman. From her early childhood she was the pet of our family, and now her incurable disease is a great shock for us.