To Russia with Love: Treasure Postcards from Family Archive

While looking through my father’s archive, I found two yellowing postcards. They were sent by my great-uncle Fima (Yefim Osipovich) Pereltsvaig (see photo on the right).






The cards were addressed to Fima’s sisters Lilya and Sonya— known in the family by the abbreviation LiSo—who lived in Moscow at the time (see photo on the left).



But the most important thing about these cards that immediately jumped at me is where and when they sent from. The date on one of the cards is May 5, 1945 and on the other May 9, 1945! At the time, Fima was stationed with the Soviet Army in occupied Berlin; the cards bear inscriptions in German on the front side of the card. Note also the return address (in lower right corner) is the Cyrillic letters “ПП” (for “полевая почта” or “field post”) and a number 54855; these cards were sent from the active military. The red stamp in the center is that of Soviet military censorship.

The text of the first card (May 5, 1945):

Здравствуйте мои дорогие!

Вчера был в Берлине, то о чем мечтал я в Сталинграде свершилось. Центр Берлина теперь имеет такой же вид какой имел разрушенный немцами Сталинград. Наши мечты осуществлены. Теперь уж остается только ждать нашей скорой счастливой встречи. Итак до скорой встречи. Крепко целую вас



English translation:

Hello my dears!

Yesterday I was in Berlin, that which I dreamt about in Stalingrad finally happened. The center of Berlin looks now just like Stalingrad, destroyed by the Germans, did. Our dreams have come true. Now all that remains is waiting for our happy reunion soon. See you soon.



The second card (May 9, 1945) reiterates the feelings of joy:

Дорогие мои родные Сонечка и Лелечка!

Поздравляю вас с великим праздником победы. С нетерпением жду минуты нашей счастливой встречи.

Крепко обнимаю вас и целую

Ваш Фима


English translation:

My dearest Sonechka and Lelechka!

I congratulate you with the great Victory Day. I am impatiently awaiting the minute of our happy reunion.

Hugs and kisses,

Your Fima

Fima Pereltsvaig, photo taken on February 2, 1945

Fima Pereltsvaig was a decorated World War II veteran. As can be gleaned from the cards above, he fought in Stalingrad and captured Berlin. He also participated in the liberation on Kiev in November 1943, from where he sent his sister Sonya the following photograph, taken on the day of the liberation, November 6, 1943, as can be seen from the inscription on the back:

Fima Pereltsvaig
Inscription on the back

Родной и любимой сестричке Соничке!

В день освобождения родного Киева

6 ноября 1943

от брата Фимы


English translation:

To my dearest and beloved sister Sonechka!

On the day of the liberation of hometown Kiev

6 November 1943

from brother Fima

Fima was one of the three Pereltsvaig brothers who joined in the army during World War II. Another great-uncle of mine, Misha (Mikhail) Pereltsvaig too had a torturous war-time saga, but that’s a story for another post.

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