La Oferta

June 13, 2024

Events Around the World

The Ida’s dress fashioned for Madame Starovolsky by Ida Rabinovitch and a very old photo of Ida and her sisters

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 

January 27, 2022

My Grandmother Ida’s Dress

Tonight I’ll be lighting candles in memory of my two sets of Grandparents who together with the 12 millions of innocent people violently died and were murdered by Nazis in the Holocaust.

My Grandma Ida Rabinovitch perished on February 13, 1943 during the Grodno, Poland ghetto liquidation by the Nazis.

Ida, born on January 21, 1898 in Grodno, was the daughter of Moshe and Keyla Torodeyko.

Moshe was a shoemaker and Keyla was a housewife.

Ida studied and excelled in the fashions design and started her profession as a dressmaker in 1915, at the age of 17 and eventually employed seven talented seamstresses.

Ida, who was known for her generosity and love of people, worked long hours from dawn to dusk, in order to support the college education of her siblings: four sisters and one brother, and later on, as a single Mother in order to pay for the best education for her three children: Dina and her two brothers, Yehuda (John Rabin) and Moshe (Misha Rabinovitch).

The author with her family in Australia, with Ida’s dress. Ida’s son and my beloved uncle Yehuda (John Rabin, pictured in front row, first on the right), was very emotional at seeing and touching his Mother’s dress for the first time in 70 years. Yehuda was a Holocaust survivor who escaped Poland for Italy and eventually immigrated to Melbourne, Australia after the war and where he lived, worked, played music and had a loving family. He passed away shortly after my visit with Ida’s dress.

Dina Rabinovitch studied to be a nurse, Yehuda and Moshe finished ORT Colleges for mechanical engineering and machine tool making.

Ida Rabinovitch (maiden name Torodeyko), who became the favorite fashion designer and seamstress in town and who owned a very exclusive “Couture Atelier” in Poland, where the rich and prominent were outfitted in the most beautiful dresses designed and created by Ida.

She had many clients, including the wealthiest high society’s ladies in Grodno, among them was Madame Starovolsky, who was married to the town’s richest man who owned a bicycle factory.

Madame Starovolsky became Ida’s regular customer and the owner of the only surviving now dress by Ida (pictured in the attached photo.)

When the Soviet Army occupied Eastern Poland in 1939, the Starovolsky family, being capitalists, as the Soviets called them, was exiled to Siberia.

As it happened, this saved their lives, since they avoided the German occupation and a possible death.

This is also how the Ida’s dress survived as well as Madame Staravolsky carried her favorite dress from Poland to Siberia, Russia and, eventually, to Israel.

Dina, my beloved Mother (1921-2009), became a nurse in the City Hospital in Vilnius, Lithuania and upon her immigration to Israel was awarded “An Outstanding Head Nurse” of the world renowned Hadassah Hospital’s oncology clinic in Tel Aviv. She was known as the “Angel in White” while wearing an all-white nurses uniform. Remember when the nurses wore an all-white and did not look like they do now as if they are on vacation in Hawaii??

In 1956, Ida’s daughter and my Mom Dina immigrated with my father, Boris Rosiansky and me, their only child, to Israel, where Dina received Ida’s dress as a present from Mrs. Starovolsky, who was 95 years old and living in Israel by then.

This magnificent and delicate silk dress with lace trimming, which I may add, is in perfect condition and could easily be in-style for today’s fashionistas, was gifted to me 13 years ago by my Mother Dina.

It is the sole item from my family’s inheritance which was touched by the hands of Ida, Dina, and me as well as my daughter Leora and granddaughter Mira.

Thus, symbolically, Ida’s love was passed on to the four generations of women in my family.

While lighting tonight’s candles in memory of my two sets of Grandparents whom I never met and who’s love, hugs and adoration I never knew and was never showered with, I’ll also remember the 12 millions innocent people who perished in the Holocaust.

Let’s never forget these atrocities.

If we do it may happen again.

Never again!

And as my daughter Leora who will be inheriting Ida’s dress in the not too distant future, remarked: “Holocaust Remembrance Day should be every day.”

Definitely, I could not say it better myself.

By Lina Broydo

Lina Broydo immigrated from Russia, then the Soviet Union, to Israel where she was educated and got married. After working as a chemist at the University in Birmingham, England she and her husband immigrated to the United States.

She lives in Los Altos Hills, CA and writes about travel, art, style, entertainment, fashions, lifestyle and sports. She hardly cooks  or bakes (don’t worry Martha Stewart!)  therefore, she orders take-out of her favorite chicken salad from everyone’s favorite Chef Chu’s restaurant in Los Altos and watches Jeopardy five nights a week.