"There were three brothers..."

My father, Ralph Bernstein, when talking about the history of his family, used to tell me, "There were three brothers, Meyer, Noech and Moishe." These three brothers came from the town of Lysianka, in the Ukraine.

The three brothers: Meyer, Moishe and Noech Bezbrozh

My father also told me that the family name was not Bernstein, but Bezbrozh (Russian: Безброж.) My father's father, Pincas (or Pinnie) Bezbrozh and his six brothers all changed their name to Bernstein upon arriving in the United States. The three brothers my father told me about, Meyer, Noech and Moishe, are the ancestors of over one hundred and fifty people living today in the United States, Canada, Israel, Europe and the former Soviet Union. 

These people have incredibly varied stories. They fled from pogroms and bribed their way across borders to make it to America. Some were turned back at the border and forced back into Russia. Some died in pogroms and at the hands of the Nazis. Amazingly, many succeeded in fleeing the Nazis and made new lives for themselves in Chechnya and the far eastern regions of the Soviet Union. Some fought and died fighting in the Soviet Army. Some served in the U.S. armed forces. Some still live in Russia and Ukraine, and others, have settled in Germany, Italy and Israel. But whatever their story, we, their descendants would not exist if it had not been for their courage and fortitude.

Here is story of the Bezbrozh family.

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Copyright © 2019 James D. Bernstein