June 2009: Return to Kishinev

I returned to Chisinau one year later to revisit the places that had been important to me, but also a puzzle. There was so much about my grandparents’ lives–what I had begun to imagine them to be–that eluded me. I returned to the Jewish Community Center, to resume my dialogue with Olga Sivac, the Center’s librarian. In the year between the visits, Olga had shared with me all kinds of extraordinary information about the city, including the fact that in the period my grandparents had their picture taken, there were 18 photo studios owned by Jews.

To make up for an exhibit about life in Kishinev curated in 2005, and that I had missed, Olga replicated one of the rooms that I had read about. Here, hand-painted dolls, the size of small children, have been displayed to represent the life of an Orthodox Jewish family around the time of the pogrom. Olga assembled the scene for me on my return to Chisinau.

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