My grandfather was born in 1926 in a small Jewish village called Saroki back then it was a territory of Romania which eventually was renamed Moldova and became part of the Soviet Union. When WWII started my grandfather was only 15 when he was given the task of evacuating his 3 younger siblings and his sick mother because of the German invasion. His older brother and father when to war against the Nazis with the Russian army. My grandfather fled with his family to Uzbekistan where there was no war to protect his family. On the way to Uzbekistan his mother fell terribly I’ll and passed away. Mikhail at the young age of 15, dug a whole with his bare hands and buried his mother while his younger siblings watched and cried. He finally arrived in Uzbekistan with his younger siblings and started to work as a barber at a local shop to support his family who depended on him. In 1943 at the age of 18 he left his younger siblings with close friends that he made in Uzbekistan and enlisted in the Russian Navy as a sailor to fight the Nazis. In the Navy he served from 1943 – 1951 as a barber and gunman on the battlefield. After the war he returned for his younger brothers and sister and returned back home with them to what was now know as Dubasari, Moldova. In 1951 he met my grandmother and his wife Lyudmilla. There he worked as a barber and they now had a son and a daughter, which is my mother Tatyana. In 1977 they immigrated to Brooklyn, NY to start a fresh new life. Mikhail opened up his very own barbershop on Coney Island Avenue in a dominant Jewish area and served the community while living the American dream. My grandfather retired in 1997 and travels the world with my grandmother who unfortunately became ill in 2002 and passed away. They were together for over 50 years and still up to this day he has never taken off his wedding ring. His siblings eventually all came to Brooklyn, settled and had families of there own. Today he devotes his time to singing old Yiddish songs at Jewish nursing home for the residents. My grandfather is a wonderful, caring man who adores his family and friends.” – Boris Skulsky

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