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Twelve Tribes from Korivograd

The Photos and the Cousins

These photos and background fill out the story told by Arlene Gorewitz Boumel, about her successful search to find her cousins from Kirovograd (was Elisabethgrad).

(Click on any picture to view full size)

This first photo was taken at THE reunion in Jerusalem on April 23, 2000.  I am the one standing fifth from the right, with long brown hair and wearing blue jeans.  My husband is the bearded man standing on the far left... My son is standing third from the left (you can only see the top of his face as he is blocked by somebody else).  The rest are my newly found cousins... some living in Israel, some having travelled from Moscow and Perm, Russia to join us.  This group represents descendants of five of the ten surviving siblings from my grandfather's family. 

Jerusalem Reunion April23, 2000

These are my great-grandparents, Israel and Chaika Gurevich.   Of the stack of photos that we had from my grandfather (he received these from his parents sometime between 1906 and 1930... we are not certain of the date).. these are the only ones who were identified.  The rest were of miscellaneous, unidentified siblings.

Israel Gurevich   Chaika Gurevich
Israel Gurevich, Arlene's great-grandfather.
Chaika Gurevich, Arlene's great-grandmother.

When I located the first cousin, still living in Kirovograd where the family had lived for the past century, she sent me a letter with some photos attached.  The letter was translated by my contact in Kirovograd.  I had no way of knowing if this was REALLY a cousin... I wondered as I read her letter how I would know if we were really related, or if it was a scam.  ... and then I looked at the photographs.  These were the first two she attached... the exact same ones I had.  I stared at these photographs for a long time, in disbelief.  It was one of those moments in a lifetime... of total shock... when you realize that your whole life has just changed.

This originally unidentified photograph turned out to be my grandfather's oldest sister, Zelda Gurevich Kozokoff, with her husband Lev Kozokoff and three of their four daughters.  It was probably taken around 1926, in Moscow. Zelda was born in 1895, and as she was the next sister down from my grandfather, she was the one he knew and loved the best.  (He was twelve when he was sent to America, she was ten and missed her big brother terribly.)  He corresponded with her regularly until she married and moved to Moscow with her husband... then another sister, Liza, took over and kept up the correspondence.

The beautiful wide-eyed little girl in the center of the photograph is Anya, who was probably around six when this photo was taken.  She now lives in Israel with her two sons.  In the Reunion Photo (Photo #1) she is the old woman wearing a flowered dress standing on the far right.  Her two sons and several of her grandchildren are also in the Reunion Photo.

The other two little girls in the photo, Fenia (the oldest) and Sonya (the baby) are both deceased.  They have sons living in Moscow whom I hope to meet some day.  There is a fourth sister as well, not yet born when this photograph was taken.  Her name is Sima Kozokoff Bronfman, she lives now in Brooklyn, NY with her daughter Rita, son-in-law, and granddaughter.  They emigrated to the U.S. around 1990.  I met both Sima and Rita at a second family reunion in Carteret, NJ in July 2000.

This photograph (also originally unidentified) is my grandfather's brother, Misha Gurevich, born in 1904, with his wife Raya.  Misha lived his entire life in Kirovograd, Ukraine, in the same house where my grandfather and his siblings were born.  He worked for many years as an administrator at the hospital in Kirovograd.  Misha and Raya had two sons.  The oldest, Fima (now deceased), was a skilled surgeon in Kirovograd.  Fima's oldest daughter, Stasya Gurevich, now age 38, is the very first cousin I found -- the one who sent me the first letter and the photographs that I referred to earlier.  She told me that until ten years ago, she still lived in the same house where all of the Gurevich children had been born, at the same address listed on my grandfather's HIAS application.  It was through the ownership papers on this house that my contact in Kirovograd was able to find Stasya.. the ONLY member of the family still living in Kirovograd.  Stasya then put us in touch with the rest of the cousins.

Misha's youngest son, Anatoly, lives with his wife and son in Perm, Russia.  Anatoly and his wife travelled to Jerusalem to join us for the April reunion.  In the REUNION PHOTO, he is the man standing third from the right, with the black and white shirt.  His wife is to his right.  Anatoly bears a striking resemblance to the old photo that I have of his father.

This last photograph, also originally unidentified, turns out to be my grandfather's youngest sister, Fenia Gurevich Zvenitsky, born in 1908.  The photo was probably taken around 1938, possibly one of the last photos my grandfather ever received from his family.

In this photograph, Fenia is with her two sons.  The boy next to her is Izeslav, probably around 8 in this photograph.  Izeslav (now deceased) grew up to become a pilot and aeronautical specialist.  He was the instructor to Yuri Gagarin, the first Soviet man in space.  (I have a photograph of Izeslav as a grown man, with his famous student as well as with some other astronauts from the Soviet space program... sent to me over the internet by one of the cousins.)

The baby in Fenia's lap is Demitry, who is 62 years old now and lives in Moscow.  Demitry's younger sister, Clara, not yet born when this photo was taken, now lives in Jerusalem.  Demitry travelled to Israel to visit with his sister and join us for the Reunion.  In the Reunion photograph, he is the man in the center of the photograph, wearing glasses and a white CK t-shirt.  His sister Clara is the woman with the blond hair and black-and-white shirt, standing to his left (as you look at the photo). (Demitry looks so much like my grandfather that it was a shock to meet him.)

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  • Last Modified: 02-23-2012
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