Yelena Bonner - Youth

Youth

Bonner was born Lusik Georgievna Alikhanova in Merv, Turkmen SSR, USSR (now Mary, Turkmenistan). Her father, Georgy Alikhanov (Armenian name Gevork Alikhanyan), was an Armenian who founded the Soviet Armenian Communist Party, and was a highly placed member of the Comintern; her mother, Ruf, (Ruth Bonner), was a Jewish Communist activist. She had a younger brother, Igor, who became a career naval officer. Her family had a summer dacha in Sestroretsk and Bonner had fond memories there.

In 1937, Bonner's father was arrested by the NKVD and executed as part of Stalin's Great Purge; her mother was arrested a few days later, and served eight years in a forced labor camp near Karaganda, Kazakhstan, followed by nine years of internal exile. Bonner's 41-year-old maternal uncle, Matvei Bonner, was also executed during the purge, and his wife internally exiled. All four were exonerated (rehabilitated) following Stalin's death in 1953. Serving as a nurse during World War II, Bonner was wounded twice, and in 1946 was honorably discharged as a disabled veteran. After the war she earned a degree in pediatrics from the First Leningrad Medical Institute.

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Famous quotes containing the word youth:

    If youth is the season of hope, it is often so only in the sense that our elders are hopeful about us; for no age is so apt as youth to think its emotions, partings, and resolves are the last of their kind. Each crisis seems final, simply because it is new.
    George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian)

    Remember thee?
    Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat
    In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
    Yea, from the table of my memory
    I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records,
    All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
    That youth and observation copied there,
    And thy commandment all alone shall live
    Within the book and volume of my brain,
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

    We have all heard of Young America. He is the most current youth of the age.
    Some think him conceited, and arrogant; but has he not reason to entertain a rather extensive opinion of himself? Is he not the inventor and owner of the present, and sole hope of the future?
    Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865)