Esther Hautzig was born Esther Rudomin in 1930 in the old city of Vilna, Poland. Russia annexed Vilna and surrounding portions in the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact, and it is now the city of Vilnius in the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Rudomins were prosperous Jews, and Esther's father, Samuel Rudomin, was an engineer. In 1941 Esther, her parents, and her paternal grandmother were deported to the Siberian village of Rubtsovsk in the Altai region north of Semipalatinsk. Though Rubtsovsk is only slightly farther north than London, its isolation and fierce winters created harsh living conditions, especially for the deportees, who had lost their homes and livelihoods.
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