Arkadii Burshtein was born in Sobolivka in 1928. His father was a tailor. He attended a Yiddish school for four years, and then finished his education in a Ukrainian school. He survived in labor camps in the Reichkommissariat Ukraine before making his way into Transnistria. After the war he returned to Haysyn, where he worked as chief engineer in a garment factory.

Other Interviews:

Sobolivka Ancedote
My Grandfather's Observance
"they wanted us to stay alive."
Speaking Yiddish
The Mass Grave in Sobolivka
Arkadii's Gefilte Fish

My Grandfather and the Priest

Haysyn, Ukraine

Jewish residents of small-town Ukraine lived side by side their non-Jewish neighbors. Jewish and non-Jewish children often played together, and adults also befriended their Christian neighbors in casual interactions. But close and intimate friendships between Christian and Jewish adults seem to have been rare. Only in exceptional circumstances, such as during periods of military service, did such friendships coalesce.

In this clip, Arkadii Burshtein remembers that in his native Sobolivka his grandfather was friendly with a local priest who had served with him during the First World War. Yet even this friendship seems to have been a formal one, lacking the familiarity common to more intimate relations between Jews. The family carefully maintained an unusual decorum when the priest visited, treating him as a respected guest. Source: Jeffrey Veidlinger, In the Shadow of the Shtetl: Small-Town Jewish Life in Soviet Ukraine (Indiana University Press, 2013)