Behind the Red Curtain

Maya Rakitova’s family has already faced innumerable obstacles and hardships together, having lived through the Communist Party purges that culminated in the disappearance of Maya’s father. But when the Nazis occupy their hometown of Vinnitsa, Ukraine, in 1941, new and terrifying threats surround them. Nine-year-old Maya quickly learns to hide her Jewish identity as her mother, with “uncommon courage,” fights to protect her, relying on the kindness of friends and strangers. A story of survival and victory over the dual terrors of the Stalinist and Nazi regimes, Behind the Red Curtain is Maya’s testament to her mother’s love and strong will.

At a Glance
Soviet Union; Ukraine; Transnistria
Passing/false identity
Hiding
Postwar Ukraine; Poland
Life under Communism
Arrived in Canada in 1981

112 pages

Recommended Ages
14+
Language
English

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Photo of Maya Rakitova

About the author

Maya Rakitova was born in Smolensk, Russia, on June 4, 1931. In 1954, she graduated from the Faculty of Radio and Television at the Bonch-Bruevich Leningrad Electro-Technical Institute of Communications. Maya, her husband and their youngest daughter immigrated to Montreal in 1981. There, Maya worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for seventeen years. Maya Rakitova lives in Montreal.

Explore this story in Re:Collection

As I looked at the postcard with a view of my native town, I recognized the exact place where I had been standing late at night, sixty years earlier, sobbing violently in fear and despair because I had nowhere to go.