Not all love stories have a good ending and happily ever after. Sometimes, destiny can be cruel and unjust. But there is romance and love even in such wedding tales as this one. And they also should be heard and remembered. This wedding story is about a Jewish woman and her brave husband who refused to leave her even in the face of execution and died together with his beloved wife during the Holocaust. Over 85 years have passed since then but their love story lives.
This love story begins in the early 1910s. The eldest daughter of Jewish pastry chef Yankel Priss named Sonia fell in love with the son of a Ukrainian orthodox priest. She was Jewish, wealthy, and her family's biggest pride. He was a town clerk Boris Milsky, and his father was an orthodox priest. Their love was mutual and the wedding followed. But in order to get married, Sonia had to give up Judaism and become a Christian. This was the only condition of Boris’s family. And the Priss family agreed to this.
The years following the wedding proved the decision right – Sonia and Boris were mighty happy together. They had two kids – a son Leonid and a daughter Nataly. Both grew up and started their own lives.
In this photo, you can see Sonia, Boris, and their son Leonid. There is an inscription at the back of the picture: “На добрую память дорогимъ нашимъ папѣ и мамѣ, дедушкѣ и бабусѣ отъ дѣтей ихъ и внука Мильскихъ”. The translation is: “For good memory to our dear father and mother, grandfather and grandmother from their children and a grandchild the Milskys”. The date is added: January 24, 1914
At some point, Sonia was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It got harder and harder for her to walk and do the chores. Boris looked after her and never complained. But then, World War II began. Leonid joined the troops, Nataly was evacuated and left the Soviet Union and her parents, so there were just the two of them – Sonia and Boris. Sadly, fate had no happily ever after for them.
A neighbor informed the Nazi about Sonia’s Jewish origin and she was ordered to appear before the Nazis authorities. Sonia couldn’t walk by herself by that time, she moved only with the help of a wheelchair. So, Boris went with her – he didn’t leave her, didn’t bolt when trouble came. He pushed her wheelchair to the place of her execution, where Sonia and Boris died together like they lived.
Their son Leonid survived almost to the end of WWII but died in an accident in 1945 in Poland.
Their daughter Nataly came back to her motherland after the war ended. She married a man who turned out to be anti-Semitic, so she hid her Jewish origin from him for the rest of her life.
Sonia Milsky (Priss) was my grandfather’s sister.