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HIAS saved our family- happy to be in America

Liliya Panayev's story posted on October 29, 2013 at 11:04 pm. Liliya emigrated from Chisinau, Moldova to New York, United States in 1991

I wrote our family's story here a long time ago, but I dont think it was saved (my English and technology skills were not very good then). So, I am submitting it again, in pieces... its a good story with a very happy ending.  


HIAS is a magical name in our house. HIAS saved our family from a war that broke out in Moldova in late 1980's.  I was a dancer with a Soviet Union dance troupe, though that became more difficult as my "jewish" nationality became the obstacle to continued success. My parents were harassed at work. From early age, I had to run, not walk, home from school because I was chased by boys and girls on my way home who shouted slurrs and waited for me around corners of buildings.  During one afternoon, they caught up with me, a big group of Russians and gypsies from the neighborhood, grabbed me and dragged me behind a barn. They pinned me to the wall, threw rocks at me and called me "zhid" telling me to go to Israel. I knew not to cry, my mother taught me to never show fear. I let them throw their shoes at me, and pull at my hair. After they were tired out, and frustrated with my lack of emotion, I saw one of the boys pick up a brick...hours later, I woke up at home, with my mother at my side, with a cleever, sitting over me and asking me who did that to me. A big clump of my hair was missing and my skull was bleeding. I was 11 years old.  Several more grueling years, of daily fears, more hair ripped out, being chased by classmates, being refused food after standing on long, long lines.  And the vandalism of our home and mailboxes. I was 13 years old when my father came home, in hushed, shaken voice telling us that our interview ...(more to come)


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