Raisa Balagur

Raisa Naumovna Mikhanovsky Balagur

Birth: November 19, 1937 Kharkivs’ka, Ukraine

Death: April 26, 2017

Her birth city was Kharkov, in the former Soviet Union. It is now Kharkiva, in Karkivs’ka Oblast, Ukraine. The Find-a-Grave gazetteer is incomplete and by and large does not list cities below the Regional (Oblast) level.

The Obituary below is from The Jewish Post and News, Winnipeg, Manitoba:

Raisa Naumovna Balagur was born on November 19, 1937 in Kharkov in the former Soviet Union to Nathan and Chana Mikhanovsky, and peacefully passed away on Wednesday, April 26, 2017.

Her father Nathan’s family came from Propoisk of Mogilev Gubernia in White Russia. Her mother Chana was the daughter of Rabbi Simon Bolotin from a shtetl on the border of the Ukraine and White Russia. Raisa’s father was a soldier in the Soviet Red Army during World War II but was injured and sent home to recuperate in hospital and the family, Raisa, her mother and brother were evacuated to Kazakhstan, south of Russia when Raisa was only 5 or 6 years old. (see postscript below for further details) She remembered the terrible hunger they suffered during those times many years later. A family member hearing of their circumstances, enabled them to move on to Siberia so they wouldn’t die from starvation. She lost many loved ones before and after the war.

Raisa later went on to complete 5 years of study at the University in Kharkov, becoming a pharmacist and working in the manufacture of medicines. After Perestroika, when the doors opened to let them leave, and then the disaster of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in 1986 not far from where they lived, Raisa, her husband Leonid, daughter [edited for privacy] and husband [edited for privacy], and their two children [edited for privacy], decided to leave. They were sponsored by the [edited for privacy] family of Winnipeg.
They arrived in Canada in 1989, settling first in Winnipeg. Raisa worked at Niagara Drugs in Winnipeg and enjoyed the opera, symphony and reading.

In 2012, Raisa moved to Victoria. Raisa was predeceased by her husband Leonid.

In the portion of the obituary that refers to Raisa and her mother and brother being evacuated to Kazakhstan, the reason for the “evacuation” was due to the fact they had to flee because as the mobile killing units of the Wehrmacht advanced into the Soviet Union (when Ukraine was part of Russia) the Wehrmacht murdered 1.5 million Jewish men, women and children. This was after June 1941, about the time Raisa was five or six years old. Her father was in the Red Army and although he was sent home due to being injured, it is not known if he went with them. He may have been still recovering in a hospital. Raisa did not speak of him being with them. Many of the victims during this time who weren’t able to flee were shot and dumped in pits. The hunger during this time was terrible and Raisa spoke of accidentally eating her mother’s small portion of bread but her mother never scolded her. The three of them were moved on to Siberia, but in Siberia they were held in communal barracks in a hard labour camp. The hunger continued. Raisa did not speak about what happened in the barracks.

Raisa was a Holocaust survivor

Funeral services were held on April 27, 2017 at the graveside at the Vancouver Island Jewish Cemetery, officiated by Rabbi Meir Kaplan.

“Raisa was a lovely person,
kind and wise and loved by many,
and she will be greatly missed
by both her family and her many friends.”

Gravesite Details: Row J

Leonid Balagur (1933-2001)

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