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 and the Priest
My Grandfather's Observance
"they wanted us to stay alive."
The Mass Grave in Sobolivka
Arkadii's Gefilte Fish
Upon returning home, whether from evacuation, the army, a ghetto, or a camp, the first challenge that met most returnees was simply finding shelter. Many returned to find only ruins where their houses had once stood. Those whose houses had been spared the bombs, found that in their absence their homes had been occupied by neighbors or others in search of shelter.
Rather than return to his native Sobolivka, where his entire family had been killed and no community remained, Arkadii Burshtein moved to Haysyn. His father had been a tailor in Sobolivka, and Burshtein became chief engineer of the garment factory in Haysyn.
The antisemitic climate that greeted Jewish survivors led many to feel ashamed of their Jewishness and to adopt methods of camoflauging their identity. Many chose not to speak Yiddish any longer in public, so as not to stand out obviously as Jews. Source: Jeffrey Veidlinger, In the Shadow of the Shtetl: Small-Town Jewish Life in Soviet Ukraine (Indiana University Press, 2013)