Galina Emmer's Story

Story posted on October 8, 2009 at 4:04 PM

It is 1976… I am fired from my work at school. My son is expelled from the Architectural Institute. The reason – we decided to leave USSR. The waiting period to get permission to leave the country was terrible. Nobody knew who would be allowed to immigrate and who would not. Meanwhile my son started getting phone calls from military offices to join the Soviet Army. If this unfortunate event had happened, we would have never had a chance to immigrate. We were forced to hide him in different places. 

After three months of waiting, we’ve got the permission to leave. We were allowed to take $270 (for me, my son, and my mother). But we didn’t care we were happy to go and leave the country where sometimes we would hear people screaming: “It’s a pity Hitler didn’t kill all of you!” After a lot of hardships in Italy we came to USA. I started working in a bank where I was paid $2.60 an hour. The Jewish Federation sent my son to wash dishes in a restaurant. After several months he took a loan and entered Pratt Institute in NY. Little by little our life improved and we could enjoy living here.

One day I heard about the Russian choir. I was happy to join it. In Moscow I finished evening music school. My major was singing and for years I missed it so much. Our choir improves my mood and fills me with joy. I like the people in it and I admire our leader Marina. It would be a great blow to all of us if we lose the opportunity to sing. We give concerts and people enjoy them and are very thankful to us.