This picture was taken at my father Aron Aronson’s workplace in Leningrad in the 1920s.
My father was born in 1903 in Kiev; that is where he studied at school, his mother tongue was, certainly, Yiddish. At the age of 16 he left for the army. In the years of the Civil War Daddy at first was in the cavalry; I recollect, that he often narrated of how a horse saved the life of its equestrian, carrying him off on its back at the time of battle.
In 1920 Daddy became an aide-de-camp of the legendary commander Guy, it was the 84th squad of the rifle battalion, 36th rifle brigade. Daddy was 17, but he already was a valiant and famous person, a hero. There are photos, where Daddy can be seen at the feet of Guy, whose aide-de-camp he was. Guy’s wife was a Jewess and loved my father very much. My daddy’s friendship with Guy went on both after the Civil War and when Father married Mom.
In 1933 – by this time we lived in Leningrad – Daddy was sent to study at some regular courses in Moscow, and there we visited Guy. I was only four, but I remember a moment that surprised me. On the table in Guy’s study there were several telephone sets. It was a great surprise for me, because in Leningrad in our room we had a telephone, but its set was attached to the wall. But when in 1937 Guy was executed by shooting, Daddy did away with all the photos, reserving only collective ones, where it was difficult to recognize Guy. Father came back to Kiev after the Civil War safe and sound, and in 1923 the whole family left for Leningrad.
Daddy never obtained any university education, he only studied at different courses, it is now called extension courses. Once he studied at such courses and obtained a certificate of a certain profession, another time he studied at other courses. He was good at doing a lot of things, a person with ‘magical hands’! Besides, he was a man of bright intellect. We never were hard up until he retired and didn’t experience noticeable want; we had everything necessary due to my father’s talents. Daddy was a very cheery and witty person as well as very kind. Everyone could turn to him with any question, and he didn’t refuse anything to anyone. He made with his own hands everything what he was able to do; if not, then he tried to buy it.