David Geller was born in 1929 in Zhmerynka. During the war he evacuated to Central Asia, first to Tashkent and then to Shymkent. After the war, he returned to Zhmerynka, but soon moved to Kiev, where he worked in a factory. In 1950 he was drafted into the army, served for three years, and then settled in Bratslav, where his wife was from.

Other Interviews:

"In short, I am a Jew"
Evacuation of the Communists
Bratslav Matchmaking
"we need to have a wedding!"
Dovid's Gefilte Fish


Bratslav, Ukraine

Those who managed to flee in advance of the Germans often found themselves in transit for many months, moving further east in advance of the front and in accordance with government orders. Dovid Geller, who had managed to evacuate from Bratslav explains in this clip how he was first evacuated to Tashkent and then sent further on to Samarkand, where he worked in a collective farm, before he was relocated once again, this time to Panjakent in Tajikistan. Geller’s father was drafted soon thereafter and his mother, who gave birth en route in Dzhambul (Kazakhstan), died in Samarkand, leaving the two older boys with their newborn brother to fend for themselves. Dovid learned how to become a lathe operator and eventually made it to Krasnovodsk (Turkmenistan), on the Caspian Sea. He worked first as a lathe operator, and then, thanks to the intervention of friends of his father, managed to secure work for himself in a cafeteria, where the labor was less physically demanding and where he knew he would have access to food. But the Gellers were among the fortunate few. About two-thirds of those Jews who lived in the territories that eventually came under German rule were unable to evacuate in time. Source: Jeffrey Veidlinger, In the Shadow of the Shtetl: Small-Town Jewish Life in Soviet Ukraine (Indiana University Press, 2013)