"Write as much as you can, and in as much detail as you can. I will read the good news with great pleasure."
Yuri Lyubarski, a Jewish officer in the Red Army, wrote these words to his wife Rosa in Shymkent-Chimkent, Tashkent from the front in the Kharkov region.
Yuri was born in 1914 in Aleksandriya, Ukraine. His parents, Rivka and Avraham Lyubarski died when he was young, and his sister Fania, 15 years his senior, raised him. At age 18, he enlisted in the Red Army and became an officer. He married Rosa Kushnir (b. 1916) and in 1939, their daughter Larissa was born. They lived in Dnepropetrovsk. In the summer of 1941, while Yuri was serving in the army, Rosa and Larissa and other family members including Rosa's mother Leah, were sent to a Kolkhoz in southern Tashkent as part of the mass evacuation of Soviet citizens to distance them from the advancing German Army. Yuri sent letters to Rosa, in which he expressed his concern and yearning for his family, and his hopes for a good life after the war.
As staff officer with the rank of lieutenant, Yuri took care of personnel. In August 1941, there was a German attack on the headquarters in Krynychky where he was serving. Yuri was awarded a medal for his courage in this battle.
In May 1942, Yuri wrote his last letter to Rosa, disappearing the same month on the battlegrounds of Kharkov, Ukraine.
After the war, Rosa and Larissa returned to Dnepropetrovsk. On 30 January 1987, Rosa finally received an official document from the recruitment office in Dnepropetrovsk regarding her husband's disappearance.
In 1997 Rosa and Larissa immigrated to Israel, and in 2000, Rosa submitted a Page of Testimony in memory of her husband Yuri. In 2016, Larissa Charnov (Lyubarski) donated her father's letters to Yad Vashem for posterity, as part of the "Gathering the Fragments" project.
Dear Rosichka and Larichka,
Yesterday, Grisha sent you 500 rubles in a registered letter and forgot to enclose my letter, which I'm sending now. In a few days I will be getting money, and I'll send you some. Then you'll be able to buy yourself and Larichka everything you want. I contacted the Ministry of Finance requesting that they send the certificate to the Shymkent-Chimkent office of the Soldiers' Association. You need to go there and check if it arrived, and to nag them. Maybe you should ask them to contact the office in Moscow. That may help you get the certificate quicker. They have your old address in Moscow. In any event, even if the document arrives late, you will receive money from May onwards. All in all, it would be better to get it on time.
There's nothing new at my end. Please answer all the questions I asked you in previous letters down to the minutest details. Don't think that long letters tire me out. Write as much as you can, and in as much detail as you can. I will read the good news with great pleasure. I await the arrival of a photo of you and Larichka and will try and send you writing paper. No stamps necessary.
I will end here. It's already 1:00 in the morning and I'm going to sleep.
Stay alive and in good health.
Regards to Father, Mother, Masha and the Eibinders.
Kisses to you and Larichka.