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Testimony of Ze'ev Norman

Written in Russian.

Ze'ev Norman was born in Vileyka, Poland on June 16, 1932, the son of Yitzhak and Pesia (nee Taibes).

In 1939 Ze'ev's father was conscripted into the army for a short while and the other family members moved in with Ze'ev's grandfather. With the German invasion in 1941, the family fled eastward and reached the Saratov district where his mother went to work on a kolkhoz. During that winter Ze'ev's younger brother remained at home because his feet were frostbitten, and their father was conscripted for forced labor. Ze'ev encountered open antisemitism.

In 1943 the family went to live in the Sverdlovsk district to be near their father. During that time, Ze'ev lived in a boarding school. In 1944, the father was relocated to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and the family went to live some 30 km from there. An informer accused Ze'ev's father of being a Zionist, resulting in his getting involved with the NKVD (Soviet Internal or "Secret" Police). When his mother fell ill, Ze'ev went to work in the fields. He did manage to attend school everywhere they lived.

In 1946 the family returned to Poland and Ze'ev joined a "children's kibbutz."

Note: A "children's kibbutz" was a children's home belonging to one of the Zionist pioneering youth movements, operating along the communal lines of the kibbutz model in Israel.