Sofia Geller was born in 1929 in Bratlsav. Her father worked as a coachman before the war. During the war, she evacuated to Central Asia, where she worked in a collective farm. When she returned to Bratslav after the war, she worked in the city council. She is married to Dovid Geller. She and Dovid have two daughters who live in Moscow.

Other Interviews:

Hebrew - the Language of Prayer
With Horse and Wagon to Donbas
Bratslav Matchmaking

“we need to have a wedding!”

Bratslav, Ukraine

Most of those who married in the immediate postwar years did so with little ceremony, simply registering their marriage with the municipal authorities. Only a very few managed to celebrate their matrimony in accordance with Jewish law under a chuppah. Dovid Geller, who moved in with his brother in Bratslav after returning from military service in Vladivostok, met his wife, Sime, at that time. Both of them wanted to leave Bratslav for a better life in Kiev, but they realized it would be easier to receive an apartment in the city if they were married. Dovid thought they should just register the marriage with the city, but Sime insisted on a proper Jewish wedding.

It was important to the couple that they have a Jewish wedding, but they were afraid to put up a wedding canopy. Instead, they made the wedding Jewish by just inviting Jewish friends. Although they did not put up a chuppah, they insisted that it was a Jewish wedding. The wedding would not have been sanctioned by Jewish law, but retained a distinct Jewish flavor that provided the couple with the meaningful foundation they craved.