Searching for Information about Famly History
in Subbotniki Communities of Kemerovo or Bolotnoye, Russia

My name is Olga Savina-Taylor. I am writing to you from Brisbane (Australia). I am so happy to discover your website dealing with the information about families of Subbotniki, their destiny around the world, and the powerful movement to recover our roots, as well as to put the pieces of the history togehter and stay united. I am in the process of writing the book which is closely based back on a few generations of my family.

There was strong devision within my mother's side of family, for that reason it was not easy for me to obtain much needed personal material, memories and as many as possible authentic details that the driving heart force of any moving human story.

The archives were not big help either. So I have high hopes that people from your site including yourself could shine any light on my enquiry.

I have quite enduring memories from stories told me by my grandfather from my early childhood until the day when I've seen and heard him last time - I was seventeen years old.This man had and still has a profound impact on many aspects of my life — personal, intellectual, creative.

So now I have no members of my immediate family to ask questions. I was the only child. Both my parents passed away. I would love to find out any available information about the origin of my grandfather's family.

Those are facts I know about him.

His name is Savin Elisey (or Elisei) Ivanovich. He was born about June 6, 1882, in the European part of Russia, possibly very close to the Polish or Belorussian border. He came from a Subbotnik family. He was actively practicing his faith and observing the Sabbath, when he married Nadeszda, his long life companion, wife and mother of fourteen children. Nadeszda was of Polish origin, and that is all I know about this kindest, resourceful and heroic woman, such a pity.

Elisey refused to participate in WWI. The political climate wasn't safe for the young family to stay in their small village (the name of this village is unknown to me). Through the Kirgiz Steppes, on a tiny cart they travelled, from village to village, towards other Hebrew settlers in Siberia.

First they reached a town called Bolotnoye, Novosibirsk oblast (province), close [~50 miles] to the city of Kemerovo, the capital of Kemerovo province. My mother Lidia was born in Bolotnoye in 1929, she was the seventh child. The family moved to Kemerovo about 1941.

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The famine and politics of Stalinist Russia tested their survival to the limits. Out of 14 children 5 survived, just before the break of WWII there were 4 girls, Valentina, Nina, Lidia and Tamara and only son Nikolai.

Nikolai didn't follow father's faith. When German Nazi Army crossed Russian border, starting one of the bloodiest war in history, Nikolai was working in Belorussia. Being good in laguages, including German, he was called to Russian Army to special devision of Intelligence, and fought Nazis until the Stalingrad battle. He perished somewhere in the snow fields near Stalingrad, skiing at night into the depth of German Army positions to find and bring one of the high rank SS officer, called "yazik" (means "the tongue" in Russian). Very possibly Nikolai was captured by Nazis.

This was the last grief which broke heart of my grandma. In 1958, after many unanswered letters to Soviet officials about Nikolai's destiny, she suffered a stroke, and was silent and not moving during the last 14 years of her life. Elisey never left her side, has continued to observe Sabbath and stayed connected to the Subbotniki community, often taking me as a little girl with him.

 I remember those Friday evenings, the beautiful singing and strong sense of community. Elisey had an amazing voice, the gift to listening to people and the gift to be an inspiring speaker.

When I was a child, Elisey was teaching me to sing, to pray, and told me endless stories.He  taught me how to see and to love nature and animals. He sang for me also so beautifully, so warmly. Among his gifts to me was also the piano he bought especially for me and the encouragement to study music. In 1980 I entered St Petersburg Conservatorium of Music and graduated it as an opera singer in 1985, being already leading soprano soloist in Malii Opera Theatre.

In 1990 I emigrated with my two children, Sonia and Grisha, to Australia. A few years more I enjoyed singing for people on the Opera Theatre stages and classic music Concert Halls. I performed under the name Savina, as the gift of my voice came from Elisey.

I would love to ask anyone who knows any smallest, tiniest details about the Subbotniki community in Kemerovo, or in Bolotnoye please to let me know. Also any personal accounts on travelling through Kirgiz Steppes to reach Siberia would be much appreciated. I would love to be as close as possible to the truth, gathering the scattered pieces of our collective history.

In tremendous gratitude,  Olga Savina (Taylor)
home: (07) 33-93-07-98
mobile: 0424-544-572

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