My mother’s birthday.

Preliminary note: I was born in Odessa, a beautiful Ukrainian city on the shore of Black Sea. In several days I will be 80 years old.


“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it”.

Edmund Burke


It was one of the happiest days of my life. My beautiful mother became 27  years old. My father returned from a business trip to Moscow and gave me a terrific birthday present – a German two-wheels bicycle with wide tires. 

It was my first two-wheels bicycle but it took only several minutes to learn how to ride it. Then my friends Vladimir and Peter brought their bicycles and we went outside to ride around the block.

There was a gorgeous summer day, the day of summer solstice. Almost no clouds and a light breeze from the sea. Adults were busy preparing for the birthday party and we enjoyed our freedom very much.

All of a sudden we heard a loud music. Pedestrians came closer to loudspeakers (there were several of them on each block). Soon music stopped and somebody started a speech. We continued to ride around our block. Then there was silence.

A man came to us and said: “Boys, immediately go to your parents! A war started! Germans invaded our country!”

When I came home women were crying. Soon all of my uncles came to congratulate my mother and to give her their presents. Three of them were already in uniform. They kissed everyone and left. Then other men (relatives and friends) came to say goodbye.

It was a very sad birthday party. There were only women, old men and children. Nobody knew what would happen with us and if we would see our men again.

I went to sleep early and I did not know that at night bombs were falling on our wonderful city and people were dying.


The Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union against Hitler’s Germany and its european allies lasted almost four years (June 22, 1941 – May 9, 1945). Nazi’s Germany was defeated but the USSR lost more than 26 mln people and the whole population went through terrible sufferings.

You can read about it and see some pictures HERE.


In her “Remembering Rotterdam Blitz” post ( Susanti wrote: ” No wars have real winners, no citizens would enjoy living when their freedom and their identity being scrapped. The truth is people suffered most during the wars. It is a tragedy to be avoided”.

I am glad that she and some other bloggers remember history!


18 thoughts on “My mother’s birthday.

  1. What an intense memory, dipped in so many different emotions and looking back at this as well as the current situation in the Ukraine must be strange. So sad of a feeling to see the men go off…and this day turned to such a tense moment. Cheers to you on your coming 80th, may it be a smooth one.

    • Ukranians and Russians and others fought together against Nazis. Today they fight each other!
      We lost many members of our family and several came back without hands or legs. There is no end
      to stupidity of human beings, want of power and greed!
      Thank you for good wishes! Best to you!

  2. A gripping post JF. I can not even fathom the emotions you must have felt that day. I join Dalo 2013 in sending very best wishes to you on this upcoming birthday. You are inspirational.

  3. My thoughts with you and your family during those days, JF. I know that it has never been easy to forget such memories. I hope the history won’t repeat, especially with current situation in Ukraine. My best wishes for your coming birthday! Trust it will be a special one 🙂 cheers..

  4. Dear JF – thank you for visiting Beauty Along The Road. I have fond and sad memories of Odessa. Spent a bit of time there in the l990s training psychologists who worked for the orphanages in play therapy. It was heartbreaking to see so many 100s of children in these orphanages but the staff seemed very caring and they had lots of people in the community who came and spent time with them.
    As for WWII – you’d think that humanity would have learned something after that horrendous war, but we (humans) just keep going, stirring up hatred and violence in all parts of the world. Too many financial and corporate interests that are pumped into these wars (without the need for weaponry of all kinds, we wouldn’t have a military-industrial complex employing how many people? and making how many billions for a few CEOs?).
    When I was younger, I thought I’d have to do something big to change the world for the better; now, I realize that my small, daily thoughts and actions are really what counts in the long run. Still, I wished I could wave a magic wand…What are your thoughts on this, having reached 80?
    congratulations on turning 80. That is quite a milestone. Good health and creative visits from your muses to you!

    • I believe that corporate and financial interests have nothing to
      do in many current wars. Today major wars are between sunnis and shiites.
      This wars are for power and religion is used to make young people
      to sacrifice their lives.
      Henocide in Rwanda also had nothing to do with corporations, banks or CEO.
      Last financial panic was engineered by the USA by trying to mix working
      capitalism with unworking socialism.
      Finally, events in Ukraine are also result of wrong government’s
      policy of the USA. You don’t guarantee anything if you are not going
      to do anything.

  5. A most interesting post of a gripping memory made even more poignant considering today’s situation. And the fact that you are about to turn 80 and blogging! sharing your memories with others. Kudos and thank you for not letting us forget. I question whether peace will ever come but we must remember history in hopes that it will, one day.

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