Anatoly Rubin has dead, a friend, a prisoner of Zion, the first Zionist fighter in Minsk in the 1950s and 1960s.
By the end of the 50’s, in the era of Khrushchev’s “late rehabilitation” the holy place was not empty. In the camps of Mordovia, the Soviet government gathered its eternal enemies, Zionists from different parts of the communist’s empire: Riga, Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev, Minsk, Odessa, and the Caucasus. These people served their terms, got back home and continued their Zionist activities maintaining their camp ties. Around them gathered new generations of Zionists. In the late 60’s these groups united in the National Jewish Movement, which fought for a free exit to Israel.
The personal case of one of the prisoners was crossed out with two red stripes ”inclined to escape”. The camp authorities explained “ fled the ghetto”. The name of this prisoner is Anatoly Rubin. He was born in 1928 in Minsk. His father tried to keep Jewish traditions in the family. The war begins. The elder brother disappears at the front. The Jews of Minsk were driven into the ghetto.The father’s dying. The elder sister Tamara is associated with clandestine activities, she is arrested and executed.
Anatoly works, unloads coal. Sometimes a friend comes to the father, a local German, he brings vegetables from the garden. Once he told Anatoly that they were being moved to Germany, and suggested Tolya to go with them. But the plan was broken: before sending it was necessary to pass a test for the purity of the race. The son of the German gives Anatoly some documents found in the name of the Russian one,Stepanov, the photograph is not very clear, and the year of birth of 1924 is easily corrected for 1929. These documents help him in difficult situations.
The ghetto is being destroyed. The last action, Anatoly, along with his mother and sister. Betty are led to the cars. Using the moment when the police were far away,he jumped over the fence and ran through the gardens, under bullets. He tears off a yellow badge and hides. Accidentally meets the cleaner from his school. She has troubles, they want to drive her 18-year-old daughter to Germany. Upon learning of his “Russian” documents, she agrees to take him along with her daughter to her husband’s relatives in a village in Western Belorussia. For four days and nights, they walked through the woods and swamps and finally reached the place. In the village, of course, no one knew that the boy was a Jew, and surprised by his thinness, they decided to leave Tolya to work in the steading. There he stayed until the coming of the Soviet Army. Afterwards he returned to Minsk. Neither home, nor family, all perished. They do not take him to the army, because he is too young. But quite by chance Tolya saw an announcement about the recruitment to the factory technical school where the accepted people are provided with a hostel and food.
He starts to go in for sports. After the experience in the ghetto – only boxing. A Jew must be strong in this world. When the technical school has been finished, he starts working at a military plant. First successes in sports are reached. The war was over, but anti-Semitism is still strong and those who dared to insult Jews are punished with fists.
Anatoly decided to continue his studies, and as a future profession the young man chose sports medicine. The director of the plant wished him all the best, gave him a good records. But the Party organizer was on the alert: he instituted the case against Rubin accusing him of leaving the factory, which is the reason for a serious punishment in wartime conditions.
Three years after the end of the war the infamous «threesome» judged him. The sentence is five years. He is amnestied after two years of camps (of prison). After his return to Minsk he graduates from the Institute. Then he teaches at the Polytechnical Institute. After that starts the period of judging and coaching in sports and at the same time the searching for everything connected with Jewish life and history. The whole experience helped Anatoly realize that he lives in the USSR as an uninvited guest and that every Jew who wants to stay a Jew must have his own home and the only home can be only Israel. Since that time Rubin channels his energy to achieve this goal.
In 1957 he went to Moscow for the Festival of Youth and Students. There he meets with the Israelis and representatives of the Israeli Embassy. He begins receiving Zionist literature through Poland and distributing it. All this activities attracted attention of the KGB (The Committee of the State Security). Anatoly is arrested. In addition to anti-Soviet propaganda, the verdict includes the accusation of preparing an attempt on Khrushchev. The sentence is 6 years of camps. There Anatoly met the Zionists from all parts of the USSR. Afterwards he was released from prison in 1964 and he continued Zionist activities. The circle of young people formed around him. Through Anatoly the contacts with the Zionists in other cities were established.
In 1968 Anatoly becomes the target of the KGB again. But his experience and perseverance save him and other people. In 1969, Anatoly arrives in Israel. His wife was Dr. Karni Jabotinsky is the granddaughter of Zeev Zhabotinsky. Their house was open to all visitors; they were always ready to help others with as advice and deed. A. Rubin wrote a book about his life “Brown and Red Boots”. January 16, 2017, Anatoly Rubin was gone.
Izhak Jitnizki for belisrael.info
Thank you very much for the translation from Russian Elena Shpektor from Minsk
Published 03/31/2017 22:26