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This interview is taken from PN Review 195, Volume 37 Number 1, September - October 2010.

in conversation with Daniel Weissbort Anthony Rudolf

Recorded on 1 May 2010

ANTHONY RUDOLF: Your parents and older brother arrived here from Poland via Belgium in 1932, three years before you were born.

DANIEL WEISSBORT: They saw the writing on the wall, and got out. We spoke French at home. My father knew Yiddish, but I rarely heard it spoken. Although I have always felt English, I still think in French occasionally.

However, you have mainly translated Russian.

French was too ordinary. Everybody studied it. Russian was more exotic.

When did you learn Russian?

Neither Russian nor Polish was spoken at home, even though my mother knew both. After graduating in history at Cambridge, I studied commerce at Leicester School of Technology and went into my father’s business for two or three years. I couldn’t stand it and decided to resume academic studies, obtaining a place at LSE to do postgraduate work in Soviet Affairs under Leonard Shapiro. You had of course to learn Russian, so I found a teacher in Golders Green. This was in 1959. But I never completed the MSc and therefore could not proceed to a PhD.

Was your Russian teacher an old White Russian lady, like the one who taught me?

No, she was quite left wing, an old Jewish Bundist. Irina Moshovitz.

What was the family business?

It was called ...


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