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Video Archives: Roza Klein

Roza Klein

Roza Klein

born in Starokostyantyniv , 1923


Roza Klein was born in 1923 in the village Grebenivke. She comes from a highly educated family. Her mother was born in the village Sakhnovtsy and her father was born in the village Hrybenynka and worked as a carpenter. Klein had four siblings. Roza received her education at a Yiddish school where she studied for three grades and which in 1938 was turned into a Russian school with the same teachers now teaching in Russian. Since Klein's father was a specialist, he was evacuated to Omsk (Central Asia) during the war, and the family spent the duration of the war there.

Current Video: At the Yiddish School

Roza Klein remembers in this clip her studies at the local Yiddish school in her hometown Starokostyantyniv. In particular, she praises the high quality teaching of subjects, including History and Geography. Interestingly, Roza recalls that the very same teachers, who taught her at the Yiddish school, transferred to the Russians school and continued to teach in the Russian language.

Parents filed numerous contemporary complaints about the poor quality of Yiddish schools and about the low priority they were given in state allocation of resources. The government seemed to have essentially given up on Yiddish schools in the early 1930s, leading to the steep decline in enrollment noticeable after the peak of 1931.

Instead of bolstering Yiddish-language education, the state undermined it. In 1935, the government began closing the Yiddish schools it had opened only a decade before, a process that was accelerated in 1937.

By 1940, there were only about twenty Yiddish schools left in all Ukraine.

Source: Jeffrey Veidlinger, In the Shadow of the Shtetl: Small-Town Jewish Life in Soviet Ukraine (Indiana University Press, 2013)