Fania and Berta Pavlovna - 1941-1945 Wartime Memories

Written by Emanuel Nahir (Bialostocki)

The children's photograph taken on July 15th, 1943. Contributed by Emanuel Nahir (Bialostocki)

After sixty years, it’s almost impossible to revive actual memories that occurred at that time. Since I did not register, nor the happenings nor the feelings, in any diary I will try to describe the events, in short, to the best of my capability.

Even in the mishap, that suddenly fall on us, (one hundred and twenty children,) that became instant orphans and evacuated to a far and unknown land; we had our luck to be leaded by the magnificent Samuil Markowich Pevzner and the upbringing by the respectful persons like Tobiash and the wonderful sisters like Fania & Berta Pavlovna.

1942 - 6th grade (of 10)
Fania Pavlovna is the 3d person from the right, sitting on the bench on the 2nd row.
Samuil Markovich is the 3d person from the right, sitting on the bench on the 1st row.
Contributed by Emanuel Nahir (Bialostocki)

I will not differentiate between the two sisters, in spite that Fania P. was milder and Berta P. was more authoritative. Both of them were aristocratic in their behavior and gentle in approach. They specially had an influence on the mid-aged kids from 12 to 14 years old.

We were organized in groups according to the grades in the school and Fania P. and Berta P. were my educators in the 6, 7 and 8 grades, during the years 1941-44. Their main concern was, not only administrative, but they took daily care of our simple needs such as: morning wake-up call, personal hygiene (checking the cleanness of our ears), and distribution of the food for breakfast….

After returning from school, they insist that we shall do our homework, since the education and our achievement and progress in school was the main motto by which we were driven. They took good care of our behavior during the meals: “not talking while eating“… They prepared the petrol and the flint to our lighting lamps, since there was no electricity and running water in our village…

1943 - 7th grade (of 10)
Berta Pavlovna is the 3d person from the right, sitting on the bench on the 2nd row.
Contributed by Emanuel Nahir (Bialostocki)

They taught us the customs and manners of behavior in modern societies, thus by teaching us the art of salon dancing, performing in cultural events and shows and singing in the choir. They actually were the only persons that could and did comfort us in hard moments. (And, there were a lot of them).

To summarize: According to my personal and again personal opinion is; that a lot of achievements and progress in our future live was very much influenced by the two sisters Fania & Berta Pavlovna, which we must never forget.


Fania Pavlovna passed away in San Petersburg Russia in the nineties reaching good age. Berta Pavlovna (at the age of 97) emigrated with her son Alexander to the USA and lives in New York N.Y.I am in constant contact with her. At this day, she is in very good mental health, and lives again and again the lives with our “Children from Druskeniki”.

Berta Pavlovna with Emanuel Nahir and his wife Ora, after an excursion in New York City.

July 2003- Celebration of the Berta Pavlovna's 105 Birthday with friends and Emanuel Nahir.



With great sorrow and pain I would like to inform, that Berta Pavlovna passed away on February 24th, 2007.

Emanuel Nahir (Bialostocki)

She was born in Peterburg, Russia on  July 25,1898 and died in New Jersey, USA on February 24, 2007 reaching almost age of 109 years.


This photograph was taken on July 2006 on Berta's 108th birthday, during my last visit to her celebration.


Another photograph from the 108th birthday. The second man in this photos is Berta's son Alexander


Fania and Berta, when they were young.

May her memory be blessed!

The Children of Druskeniki

Memorial Bialystok Web Site

First posted on  September 12th, 2003

Last updated April 3rd, 2007