DRUYAN, EPSTEIN - Rostov-na-Donu #ukraine #russia

Robyn Dryen

When my grandfather’s cousin died in 1938, he left bequests to his two sisters:

  1. Anna (neé DRUYAN), wife of Isaac EPSTEIN 
  2. Gitel DRUYAN

All were living in Rostov-na-Donu, Russia when the will was made in 1929.

Anna (c.1882) and Gitel (c.1887) were born in Veselaya - one of the Jewish agricultural colonies in Ekaterinaslav, Ukraine.

Apart from finding a Leib/Lev Epstein, a possible son of Anna and Isaac, who was born in Rostov in 1913 and was killed on the Russian front in 1944, I have not been able to find any trace of these people. I have considered the possibility that they, or their children may have emigrated to Palestine or elsewhere after 1929 but have not found any promising leads. I have not found them in any of the few lists of those displaced or killed in Rostov during WW2.  

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Do you have suggestions for further research?  

Robyn Dryen

Sydney, Australia

Debbie Lifshitz

Hi Robyn,
I recently learned of the Holodomor from an eye opening lecture on-line by Harvard Professor Timothy Snyder (nothing fancy: youtube). the holodomor was a man induced famine in the Ukraine in 1932-33 during which 3 million to 7 million people died of starvation. Stalin famously would not allow aid to reach the population, and people who tried to flee were shot. This starvation killed Ethnic Ukrainians and Jews with total indifference. If you find no traces of your family they may have been victims of this Soviet era induced starvation. Most people who were buried did not have grave-stones, many more were not even buried. The fact that the real number remains unknown is an indication of the inability of locals to record the deaths in any systematic way. I believe that there are no records of the deaths in the Jewish community. 
All the best,
Debbie Lifschitz