FROM TAJIKISTAN TO THE MOON is an inspirational true story. It reveals my history and struggles from an unique Soviet perspective. It is a story of war, anti-Semitism, survival, perseverance, good fortune and success, which could have happened only in America. A solemn promise I made to my mother during the darkest days of the war prompted me to write this memoir.
Without warning, my childhood was shattered and my family plunged into the madness and savagery of World War II. We were bombed out of slumber at 4:00 am on June 22, 1941, eight hours before Soviet foreign minister Molotov announced that Russia was attacked by the Nazis and we were at war. For six weeks, running through fields, sleeping on the hard cold ground, dodging bullets and surviving on whatever food we could forage, my parents and I barely kept ahead of the German line.
Somehow, my parents and I survived. Left behind in the rubble were eleven members of our family who were captured and brutally murdered.
As a ten-year-old boy, I learned the terror of bombings, the sounds of flying bullets, the pain of near starvation, the torment of hunger and the omnipresence of death.
FROM TAJIKISTAN TO THE MOON is of historic significance as I am the last of a generation to have lived through the horrific, never to be forgotten events of World War II. I bear testimony to my life as a young boy caught up in the ugly subhuman existence of a war refugee, a displaced person, separated by unseen borders of discrimination and war, who managed to live a full and rewarding life. I am also proud of my contributions to the Apollo and Surveyor lunar exploration programs and the development of scientific and defense satellites to keep America safe.
I am married and we have four children and seven grandchildren. Now retired, we live in a large house in Southern California. I have certainly reached the American dream, yet I never forget where I came from.