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Nellie Barg

Born three years after the end of World War II in Kiev, Ukraine. I grew up strongly influenced by a close relationship with my uncle, Arkady Rabinovich, who spent more than twenty years as a prisoner of the Soviet regime in Siberia; and, with a strong feeling for my Jewish identity. I was also deeply affected by reading progressive Russian authors, such as Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Boris Pasternak. Despite anti-Semitism being an open policy of the Soviet Union, I managed to become a successful and well-known Speech Pathologist, working in a Psycho-Neurological Hospital, where I diagnosed and treated children and adults with speech, neurological and mental disorders. For ten years of my life, I lived in an abusive relationship with a husband, who, while torturing me, refused to let me go. I became involved with the opposition movement, became a dissident and, in 1979, a "Refusenik." It was not until 1989 that I was able to leave with my teenage daughter; refugees to the United States, escaping the KGB and persecution. I worked as Bilingual Counselor for the Research Foundation of CUNY with refugee families receiving government assistance. After satisfying all requirements for NYC/NY State licensing, I worked for twenty years as a Speech Therapist, in the Public School system. I created numerous literacy materials, wrote and adapted books for special children, conducted staff development workshops and gave lectures. In 2007, I completed the Memoir Writing Workshop with the Gotham Writing School and, more recently, their Advanced Memoir Workshop in 2013.In June of 2013, I also presented lectures/interactive workshops on storytelling/memoir writing at the New Jersey “Y” Kislak Adult Center. Since 2013, I have been working on my memoir, which is now close to completion.

On freedom in America: Three decades of New Years