The unusual story of Abrasha Rotenberg

Abrasha Rotenberg She is 97 years old, and she celebrated her birthday in Madrid on May 4, and celebrated it with her two children, Cecilia and Ariel, by the way, Cecilia Rothand actress f Ariel RootMusician, co-founder of tequila with Alejo Stifel.

He is a writer and novelist and was one of the greatest Argentine journalists. He went into exile in Spain when Videla’s military dictatorship shut down his newspaper and threw him, among many others, into exile. In Madrid, he lived in this mode for 37 years. And he has returned to Madrid since his reunification with Argentina, several times to be with his children, but also to present, as now, the books he writes.

The latter is Desperate Muscovite (Nagrila Publishing), who gave narration at several presentations in Madrid, which he always attended fresh, defying an age evidently unburdened by him. He got to this conversation on time, before the journalist assumed it as part of his resume, and he didn’t stop counting until it was time for another meeting.

His physical form resembles the result of his writing: It seems to come from the pen of a young writer who tells about his life. Almost everything he says, metaphorical or not, has to do with his own history Born in Ukraine and raised in the Soviet Union It was subjected first to the exile to which it was sent by Stalinism and, much later, to the exile that had arisen in the Argentine Videla. We found it at the Hotel Santo Mauro in Madrid. After two hours of conversation, he had already seduced those around him, the occasional visitors to a luxurious place, because everything he said seemed to be from another world. Ibrahim’s world.

His book “The History of Others”, all related to the Soviet Empire in which he was born, nothing is a lie because he writes novels to tell the truth of what was happening to him. For example, the first of the stories in this new volume of his stories concerns a Soviet man who goes from Moscow to Buenos Aires to sell his very valuable stamps, or so he thinks. There he found himself, after a legendary voyage, in which the fortune he had accumulated in Moscow was worth no more than a few pesos.

Actually it was A story that had another twist in reality, but fiction is the material in which Abrasha wraps his massive story ability. What happened to himself or his family. You have to read that story, and all the others, to gauge the extent of reality and fantasy (what Mario Vargas Llosa called fact lie) Gather together this singular man’s mind, writing, and autobiography.

He told me, “Once the book is in print, it’s all true.” And it doesn’t matter “where this truth comes from, because what is written for the reader becomes the truth for the author.” Specifically, the story that gives the book its title and that represents that tough guy melting his reality (on his arrival in New York), happened elsewhere, but helps him explain the metaphor of destruction to which Stalinism subjected the Soviet Union. He talks about it, what happened when he was a child, because he was a child witness to the principle of Stalin’s ruin, as if looking at him, even today, with eyes that seem to be born to be eternal there, watching.

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He says: “The address & rdquo;” It can give the impression I’m talking about put it in… but It’s the story, the whole book, about the failure of the Soviet Union and mldr; occur at a time Brezhnevwhen the Soviet Union is no longer a dream Lenin But a nightmare Stalin. That country was crushing more and more. As one of the characters says, “I am a skilled forestry engineer and work less than a janitor in New York.” It’s time to break free from magic. Communism is no longer a dream turning into a nightmare. The character in the first story is looking for a future, but not in the great revolution, but in the decadent capitalism he was always told: New York. He realizes that what has been denied and discredited is for him the way out of oppressive communism.

He was born in Ukraine, “and look what the current dictator is doing there,” so his vision of life there, as well as his later life Berlin or in Buenos AiresIt’s nostalgic. Born in a village theofibol, He was taken to Moscow at the age of eight, in his family alternately communists and anti-communist fanatics. “In my grandfather’s house they spoke in low voices, in my uncles’ house they spoke with joy, because they They believed that Stalin would bring us out of poverty, that a new man would be established& rdquo;.

Then I had the “tremendous experience of living in an exemplary city called Stalin Magnitogorsk, the first or second most polluted city in the world. When revolution broke out in what would later become the Soviet Union, it was a revolution against nature. Russia was an agricultural, cattle-breeding country, and it still has remnants of it from the Middle Ages. Stalin wanted in ten or twenty years to turn that agricultural Russia, which is also a cattle breeder, into an industrial Russia. Very difficult process. But Magnitogorsk was a symbol of that. We lived a terrible barracks life. But my mother gave the right to obtain a visa to Moscow. And there I had a great experience, because He lived in a communal house opposite the Kremlin. It gave me the opportunity to attend the great shows that were there when I was a kid. People of all colors lined up to visit Lenin’s grave.

It was several times before Lenin’s grave. After “the environment of Ukraine & rdquor; there seemed to be gold, but it was not there.” The hunger was very hard, hunger does not allow you to think. We always ate potatoes, yams, or vegetables. I never ate meat during the eight years I lived in the Soviet Union, not even a piece of meat.

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But the mother managed to fly to Berlin. There the teenager got to see how Hitler armed his army, as well as the army of young Nazis who sing in the film nightclub That hymn is chilling, Tomorrow belongs to me (the future is mine). Abrasha, on the train, happened to meet a fat man who was wearing a gold watch, and it occurred to him to exclaim “Bourgeois!” Hated behind the curtain that crossed it.

“I said that phrase & rdquor; he says, ‘because the bourgeoisie was the enemy of that country in which I grew up & mldr; But neither Lenin nor Stalin were able to change the country they inherited. Berlin was an absolutely amazing experience. These boys are walking! By contrast, I was intrigued by it. because Russian communism was sad. Cuban communism was irresponsible. And the Nazis took it seriously and reached a tragedy without realizing it. They thought it was a party.”

Then New York came. Then came Argentina, alternating with a period in Israel, perhaps its happiest moment, when the State of Israel was created in 1952. Hearing him talk about all those times is like opening an atlas of the world, but none of those episodes, when he tells them, Ukraine doesn’t disappear, cradle He conjures it “with much pain ”. First of all,” because I still have family there, in a bombed-out area near the Dnieper, where the famous Dnieper-Petrovsky station was, which was a very important power station. The river was in the city which in Russian is called Zaporizhia, an industrial area where cars are made, which was called Zaporizhia, it’s kind of an old Fiat, it was so badly finished you had to wait years until they told you the fee to get it. You could have a car … My family’s history in the Soviet Union is written in a book of my own, The last message from Moscow. It is a story in which chance plays a very dramatic role … ”

Then came Buenos Aires, and there Abrasha made his misadventuresuntil Videla and his family ended his career as a journalist (writer, journalist, businessman) and embraced an exile here, in Spain, of 37 years, until life brought him back to what is now his land, having known, suffered, and enjoyed so much that it was unattainable or auspicious. And now, Abraca, he is back in Argentina, having made part of his story in Spain, how is that country that adopted him and now also his?

“Buenos Aires, when my dad got there, was the future and mldr; it was the ’40s. And they told me the streets of Buenos Aires weren’t made of cobblestones, they were pieces of gold. It was a false myth. I hardly spoke to my dad because he had severe lung cancer.” . It was not easy being a Jewish foreigner in Argentina. You experienced what it was like to be a Jew, suppose you didn’t speak. I became everyone’s friend because I quickly learned Spanish on the radio.”

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He became an Argentine diocesan.It was an opportunity, an opportunity, an opportunity. At the age of 14 I started working at a sawmill and paid my vacations. When the State of Israel was established in Argentina in 1948, they needed employees, and since I studied Hebrew, they hired me. From there, she got a scholarship to Al-Quds University. I was studying economics and went to study. Very interesting experience. Israel 1950. Then my dad went into crisis with lung cancer and that set me back. I was 23 years old. They told me to go do their little business of raincoat and umbrella. I had a brother who was ten years younger than me. I promised as if to take charge.

In Buenos Aires, once again, he met the woman of his life, Dina, a Chilean singer, “She was eighteen, I was twenty-three. Seventy years together.” Abracha’s voice recounting his life as if riding through the pampas breaks , but Reaching his time as a journalist, at the helm, with Jacobo Timermans, of The opinion, Videla was slaughtered. “It was terrible.”

Their countries, Ukraine, Argentina. How do you see them now? “Ukraine is a pain. Because even though I was born in Ukraine and raised in Ukraine, there are Russians in it. Putin thinks he’s Peter the Great, or Stalin and mldr; And Russia lives drowned, lives lying to itself. The Russians are convinced that in Ukraine they are all Nazis. But the manipulation is that very few are against Putin. Until now, because the pocket will warn them of catastrophe & mldr; ”

Q: And Argentina, Aberca?

R. Argentina is pain, an open wound that is difficult to close. It is chaos, it is the political lie and the middlemen in politics. I, even as I watch Spain or the debate, am a pleasure to listen. Even the insults have a higher level here, they are more subtle, they are cultured insults, even if they swear in Spain, in Argentina they have not had any training. Politicians I see them in situations much more in ideas, in preconceived notions than in deep truths according to what the age says. And the times say you have to keep your eyes wide open because whatever seems like it isn’t, isn’t, isn’t. We live with many lies and very little chance of finding a good path. But no bread, no bread.

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Q: I’m 97 years old. What does age mean to you?

R. I just turned ninety-seven and I’ll tell you how I feel. I feel like I’m years old, but I’m not old. this is what I feel.

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