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Dina Kohnover

Childhood memories of the siege


Story by Tamari Gat

Photo by Tamari Gat

Dina was born in Leningrad, Russia, on April 23, 1930. The war reached the city gates on June 22, 194
"I was able to attend school until the fourth grade, and when the war broke out, school ended and my ended." In July 1942 the family left Leningrad in a military vessel to Omsk in Siberia and from there, to a little village named Nikolayevsk, where they lived until the end of World War II. "It was very cold, but at least we weren't hungry!" When her brother contracted pneumonia, her mother took him to Omsk Hospital and Dina stayed in the village by herself until her mother returned and brought her back to live with them. The year was 1944, and the Russian army had already succeeded in halting the Nazis. Dina's father was transferred from the German front to the Japanese front. In the fall of 1946, when Dinah was 16, the family returned to her home in Leningrad and reunited with her father. In the mornings Dina worked for a living with special needs children and in the evenings, she completed her studies which had ended abruptly in fourth grade. Due to her diligence, she graduated and also received two degrees in textile engineering. In Leningrad she met Tully, they married and had a daughter, Galina. Her granddaughter was also born there, and on September 14, 1990, they all immigrated to Israel together. It is important for Dina to transmit her story to future generations so that this dark period she had lived does not disappear into oblivion.
A knock on the door is a sign to us that our time with Dina is over. We take turns photographing her, and she asks me if she's beautiful enough. In broken Russian, I tell her that her heart and spirit are more beautiful than those of any professional model I've ever met, and that her portrait will look great. She smiles, clutches my hand and walks over to stand by Tully's coat, although Tully has passed away, he will be part of her portrait.

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