The Documents That Did Not Burn
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I was born in the city of Gomel, in South-Eastern Belarus, in 1938. Gomel was traditionally a place of the Jewish Pale of Settlement. In Imperial Russia, this meant that Jews were allowed permanent residency there. According to the records, about forty thousand Jews lived in Gomel around my birthdate, which accounted for thirty to forty percent of its population. Until the war there were even state-run schools where instruction took place in Yiddish.