Warning! The text retains the original spelling of surnames and place names by an Israeli researcher; in many cases it may not be correct. Fragments that could contain current personal data have been removed from the interview.
Name of Interviewee: Kasriel Bruchanski, was born on 15.6.1933 in Nieśwież;
Interview Subject: Kasriel Bruchanski and his family.
Kasriel Bruchanski was born on 15.6.1933 in Nieśwież (Stolpce), Bialorussia.
Kasriel's parents: His father Szymon Bruchanski was born in 1888 in Stolpce; his mother Genia (nee Grinblat) was born in 1900 in Nieśwież.
Father's parents: Pesach and Nechama Bruchanski.
Father's brother: Mariem.
Mother's parents: Itzchak and Chwole Grinblat.
Mother's siblings: Kasriel and Doba Grinbat (born in 1908).
Szymon's family was very poor. His parent's passed away when he was about 15 and his relatives took care of him. Szymon attended a Heder in Stoplce where one of his classmates was Zalman Shazar (nee Robshov), the future third President of the State of Israel. Eventually Szymon became a forester (brakaz lesny [brakarz leśny]) and did that kind of work for years.
Mother Genia's family owned a house with a small grocery in front, run by grandmother Chwole (who also baked some of the pastries) and Genia. Grandfather Itzchak worked as a building brick-layer especially in erecting glazed tile stoves. The family's standard of living was average. When the parents got married in 1932 they lived at Genia's family house in Nieswiez.
Aunt Doba was a seamstress and uncle Kasriel was an apprentice of a building carpenter. Both had revolutionary orientation and were active in learning and spreading Yiddish. Uncle Kasriel (mother's brother) was shot dead by a Pole in 1919 when the Bolsheviks entered Nieswiez after WW1. He was about 17.
Kasriel attended a kindergarten where the teaching language was Hebrew, although in the first class of the primary school (1940-1941) the teaching language was Yiddish.
When the Germans invaded in 1941, Kasriel, his father and aunt Doba were permitted to retreat to the east, leaving the mother behind, because she had to stay and keep the grocery open. That permission could have been a result of the revolutionary activities of uncle Kasriel. They reached Bobroysk, where mother arrived a few days later. They proceeded to Filonowa in the Stalingrad vicinity.
Kasriel attended school and his parents were employed (he does not recall where).
When the Germans were approaching Stalingrad they were evacuated to a kolkhoz named Zarawszan in the Samarkand vicinity, Uzbekistan. His parents did farm work while Kasriel attended three grades at an Uzbek school.
Due to the harsh conditions the family moved to Samarkand, where a big center of the Chabad Jews was located. Since mother Genia wished him to learn Jewish religious studies and he was able to get a reasonable lunch there (which was certainly impossible elsewhere), Kasriel began to study at the Chabad center. He had to wear a hat and he grew side-locks. It lasted for two years until the family traveled back to Poland (in 1946).
In June 1946 they arrived in Dzierzoniow. Szymon worked as a maintenance man at a kindergarten whereas mother and aunt Doba worked at a confection cooperative. Kasriel entered the second class at the Jewish No. 5 School at the age of 13. At the same time he continued to learn Jewish religious studies. Two years later he moved to the Publicznej Sredniej Szkoly Zawodowej for a year and then went to the ORT School. He finally graduated from the Technikum Radiotechnicznego in 1953.
In his leisure time Kasriel participated in the Jewish choir conducted by the famous Samorov. In the summer holidays he used to go to summer camps (Kolonie).
Kasriel was accepted by the Telecommunication Faculty at the Politechnika Wroclawska which he attended till the immigration to Israel in February 1957. During his studies he was compelled to do pre-military training a day a week and a month in the summer vacations.
As a certified radio technician Kasriel got a position with the broadcasting authority Kol Israel and continued his academic studies at the Haifa Technion. He graduated as an Electrical and Telecommunication Engineer. Szymon was employed as a watchman and Genia worked at a restoration institution.
After finishing his studies, Kasriel was employed by the Telecommunication Ministry. The last position he held till retirement in 1998, was Head of Broadcasting, Engineering and Planning Division at the largest Israel telecommunication company, Bezeq.
Kasriel is married, father of two daughters and five grandchildren.