Video Archives: Pyotr Sandler
born in Starokostyantyniv , 1926
Pyotr Sandler "Perets Shilovich" Sandler was born in Starokostyantyniv in 1926. His father was a barber, and his grandfather was a shoemaker and the head of the Jewish community in Zhytomyr in 1945. Sandler went to a religious school (kheyder), as well as a Yiddish school, which he attended for four grades. During the war, Sandler's family was evacuated to the Volgograd region and later to Uzbekistan. His father died of cholera and was buried in a mass grave there. After the war, the family returned to Starokostyantyniv.
Current Video: Celebrating Holidays
Pyotr Sandler fondly remembers holiday celebrations at home. According to Pyotr, his father would make sure that all holidays would be celebrated. Although he grew up in poverty in a family of eight children, they would eat meat once a week, on Sabbath.
Pyotr studied at a Yiddish school for four years and grew up in a traditional home. He cannot, however, recall more details about the holidays themselves. When growing up in prewar Soviet Ukraine in the 1930s, Stalinist persecution of religious activity was at its pinnacle. As a consequence, Jewish religious practice moved underground or was confined to the home. The shift from the public to the private resulted in a less all-encompassing religious education.
Religious schools and state-sponsored Yiddish schools were closed down and thus the development of a Jewish traditional consciousness was often only possible within the family nucleus.