Naum (Nekhemye) Samoilovich Gaiviker was born in 1912 in Khmel'nyts'kyy to parents Shmil and Sosye. Naum was named after his grandfather Nekhemye, who served in the Tsarist army as a cantonist. When Naum was six years old, there was a pogrom in Khmel'nyts'kyy in which many of his friends and family were killed. The same year, Gaiviker's mother died. His father re-married and had several more children. Gaiviker received a traditional “kheyder” (religious school for boys) education. He studied in two schools with his teachers Motl der Shvartser (Motl the Black), and Khayim Mezhibuzher (Khayim from Medzhibozh).
Gaiviker worked for more than sixty years in various barbershops, like his father before him. In 1930, Gaiviker left for Moscow and started working as a barber. Soon thereafter he was arrested after a quarrel with his boss but received a lighter sentence apperently because the prison warden was Jewish. During the famine in 1933, Gaiviker, along with other ex-convicts, was kicked out of Moscow. He returned to Khmel'nyts'kyy, where it was very hard to find work. During the Great Patriotic War, Gaiviker served in the army.
Gaiviker married his wife Sonya Volkovna Gaiviker in 1945. They have one daughter and one granddaughter who lives in Israel. By the time of the interview, Gaiviker had been retired for more than thirty years.
Photographer: Artur Frątczak