Motherland by Natan Gimelfarb
Notes of a Persecuted Director: A Memoir about Jewish Life in the Soviet Union

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews


Motherland offers a unique, inside look into Jewish life in Communist Russia. It wasn't written to make a point or to get sales or recognition; it wasn't intended to be available to the general audience or even to be translated into English. Its goal was to leave an honest portrayal of a man's life to his progeny, but the result offered too much insight to be left on dusty family bookshelves. Motherland implies as much as it says, as it takes you through communism, anti-Semitism, the Great Famine, the Great Purge, World War II, and the everyday realities of Russian life. A touching story of growth, loss, betrayal, and difficult choices, Motherland offers heartache and human insight worthy of fiction, while making you feel the human cost of grandiose events and ideas. But it isn't a story about making excuses or accepting your fate. Motherland shows how much a person can achieve with moral strength, faith, and determination, despite the tremendous destructive power of uncontrollable circumstances. Natan displays exemplary human decency despite losing parents at an early age and living through the toughest of times. He performs in school despite missing years of classes. He succeeds in relationships and love despite disfiguring wounds. He rises to national prominence in his career despite the severe handicap of his ethnicity. And when the all-powerful Party comes after him, with all the jealousy and hate that such success brings, he succeeds in publicly defending himself in procedures where few people, much less Jews, have been successful. Volume I covers Natan's life through hunger and war until graduation from the university. Volume II covers his career and fight with Soviet authorities.

About Natan Gimelfarb

See more books from this Author
Natan Gimelfarb was born in 1924 in Krasilov, a small Jewish village in Ukraine, part of the Russian Pale of Settlement. Born to a family of modest means, but high ideals, Natan enjoyed a happy childhood until the Holodomor took away both of his parents. Shortly after the start of the Great Patriotic War, Natan sneaked into the army as a volunteer despite being under age. He was severely injured in a battle for Krasnohrad in 1941 and was honorably discharged from the army. Natan initially studied geology at the Grozny Petroleum Institute in Chechnya, but then transferred to Odessa and graduated as an engineer in Canning and Refrigiration Technology. He started work as an engineer in Minsk, Belarus. He made a number of technical contributions to the industry, including several U.S. granted patents. He rose to a position of Director where his honesty, work ethic, and concern for workers and fairness allowed him to significantly improve the operation of the plants he was inolved with. As was common in Russia, anti-Semitism presented itself at every step, demanding a higher degree of excellence than would otherwise be required. At a level of director, even perfection would not be enough. After many years of loyal service, Natan faced persecution by the Soviet authorities. His spotless record allowed him to successfully defend himself in public procedures where few have been successful.Natan has had a life-long passion for chess and to this day welcomes a chance to play.Natan immigrated to the United States in 1992. He currently resides in New Jersey.
Published June 12, 2010 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 272 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel.

Rate this book!

Add Review