European Tragedies

The Radovs, not unlike other Russian and Ashkenazi Jews generally, were subjected to the difficulties of ordinary life - poverty, starvation, disease, conflicts - and were especially vulnerable to discrimination, typically labeled anti-Semitism. In Russia, this occurred with a special vengeance, under the name of Pogroms, which were organized raids against Jewish villages and Jewish populations by gangs commissioned by the army, nobility or royal family of Russia. Pogroms had a long history, dating back to what might be viewed as practice pogroms, first initiated by the Crusaders intent on killing supporters of the Islamic governments that ruled the so-called, "Holy Land" (Israel). While in route to those Quixotic conquests, they practiced killing by slaughtering Jews in eastern and central Europe.

Matters worsened during wartime, and ultimately with the death camps. A number of the Radovs recall specific incidents, a few of which are very briefly excerpted below:

  • Torture: Clare Radov Levin on her uncle, Peter Radov, nailed by a sword to a tree and tortured;
  • Rape: Bertha Blau on her cousin, and Lynda Falkenstein and Pam Smith on their aunt, Lena Radov Carol Smith and Lena's sister (name now lost), raped and killed, with an addition on both Lena and Peter's tortures by Barbara Bass;
  • Horror: Barbara Bass on her grandmother, Cherna Radov Bass Thompson, in a Kiev bread line watching others slaughtered by Cossack soldiers;
  • Terror: Jack Thompson, Barney B. Radov and Edie Radov on the Radovs crossing the Dnieper, escaping Leninist Russia;
  • Capture: Susan Mandiberg on her father, Jack, shot down behind German lines;
  • Brutality: Mike Falkenstein, son-in-law of Muni Carl, (son of Menya Radov), on escaping 1940s Germany and then surviving W.W.II occupied Shanghai;
  • Shoah: Finally, and most brutally, Mike Bergida, husband of Sheila and son-in-law of Lena Radov Carol Smith, on being in Auschwitz.