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Postcards from Home 

 

Samarkand
UZBEKISTAN


Mother Anna and her son Rolan (Lana)


Molik and his brother Rolan

 


BABY ROLAN
Samarkand, Uzbekistan
1936

Left to right: Molik, Anna (holding baby Rolan) and husband Moisei Arenberg.
 

Moisei loved and felt proud to have a new baby with his second wife Anna (born Hanna Leibovna Brodskaya). She was thirty-three years younger than Moisei and five years younger than his daughter Valia.


It was not very usual to have small children at Moisei's age (he was born in 1876). He marked the events of the birth of his two sons by giving them unusual names. Their first son had been registered as Moliere, a unique first name in the entire USSR perhaps in the world. Why? Some say this occurred because Moisei mother's name was Malka; others say it was because Moisei loved French literature. Rolan was a known, although a rather rare name. In this next respect, everyone was unanimous. Since the name of the first boy was Moliere, the second also had to be taken from the French literature, and Moisei chose the name Rolan after the French writer Romain Rolland , who was in vogue during those times for his works "Colas Breugnon" and "Jean-Christophe." The boys also received the unusual diminutives of Molik and Lana, and they got rid of their birth given names as soon as they grew up. Moliere (Molik)
could not bear his unusual name, and from the moment he entered military aviation school in 1949 as the only Jew among the one hundred and fifty students of his class, he introduced himself as Pavel. In 1963 he changed his first name officially and thus saved his two sons (born in 1954 and 1962) from having the patronymic "Molierovich." Lana became Lionia without changing it officially; he was a simple worker type, and it did not matter to him.

 





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