Nadia Fradkova’s parents divorced when she was very young. She lived with her mother in a small town near Moscow. Although her mother was Russian, Nadia was considered a Jew because her father was Jewish. She did not know what the word Jew meant until she was taunted at school by the other children. At the time her mother was able to comfort her, but as she grew older, she found it more and more difficult to deal with the antisemitism she seemed to encounter at every turn. Yet when she decided to emigrate, she discovered she could not leave the country without her parents’ consent and neither was willing to give permission. Without their permission, she could not even apply for an exit visa. Her insistence on emigrating led to hunger strikes and long stays in a labor camp and a psychiatric hospital. She was unable to leave the country until the Soviet Union collapsed and restrictions on emigration ended. She settled in Israel for a few years and then made her way to the Boston area.
Nadia Fradkova discusses her background growing up in the Soviet Union, where she experienced antisemitism, including a time she was beaten for being Jewish Nadia talks about completing university entrance exams and more antisemitism she faced. She discusses the origin of her last name. Nadia faced issues with being accepted. There were many antisemitic incidents in Nadia’s life. Even when Nadia wanted to apply to leave the USSR, she faced open resistance from her father. Nadia would go on hunger strikes and was sent for long stays in a labor camp and a psychiatric hospital. She describes being shot with narcotics and how she was force-fed so she would not die. Nadia discusses the USSR using psychiatry as punishment and for political purposes and describes some of her experiences in the psychiatric hospital, jail, and labor camp. She struggled to find employment in the USSR. Eventually, she left the USSR, immigrating to Israel and eventually came to the United States.