web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Meet Putin’s High School German Teacher, Now Living In Tel Aviv

Mina Yuditskaya Berliner in the Tel Aviv apartment purchased by her former student, Vladimir Putin. 
Credit: Ben Sales

Mina Yuditskaya Berliner in the Tel Aviv apartment purchased by her former student, Vladimir Putin. Credit: Ben Sales

TEL AVIV – When Mina Yuditskaya describes Vladimir Putin, circa 1969, and Vladmir Putin, circa 2005, it’s as if she’s talking about two different people.

One is a quiet, studious boy, clearly smart and diligent, but not loud or remarkable in any way.

The other is the charismatic leader of Russia, a man able to invite her for tea and cakes during a ceremony at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, then to buy her an apartment in central Tel Aviv.

Yuditskaya, 93, has been thrust into the spotlight in Israel as her former pupil has annexed Crimea in one of Europe’s tensest conflicts since the Cold War. Sitting in the living room of the apartment Putin gave her, a 10-minute walk from the beach, she stops our conversation as a segment featuring her – filmed that morning – airs on Israel’s Russian TV channel.

Yuditskaya taught Putin German when he was a 17-year-old student in a St. Petersburg high school. She moved to Israel several years later, and now he’s one of the world’s most powerful men.

The teenage Putin skipped homework assignments to attend judo practice, she remembers, though she knows he liked her class: She once caught him writing German sentences in his chemistry notebook.

“He was like everyone else,” she said. “He was serious. He wouldn’t mess around. He would do what I said. He was quiet a lot and thought a lot. He did everything well.”

Yuditskaya was much more eager to discuss their meeting nine years ago, when Putin visited Jerusalem to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Russian government officials knew Yuditskaya lived in Tel Aviv, and Putin invited her to meet him at the King David. What followed, she recalls, was a warm and lighthearted conversation.

“He said, ‘Israel is very good but very hot,'” she recounted. “I said, ‘How do you remember me?’ I thought he’d say I was beautiful, but he said I was serious.”

She noticed that despite the ascent to power, there was one thing that hadn’t changed about Putin: he remained a good listener. During most of the conversation, she talked about ideas, philosophy and history, while he sat, nodded and asked questions. As they parted, Putin gave her a watch commemorating the war’s 60th anniversary.

The meeting was pleasant, Yuditskaya said, but it also left her feeling sad, realizing how much time had passed, even though the intervening years had been good to Putin.2

“Time does bad things,” she said. “He was a kid. Now he’s big. I was a young teacher. Now I am old. I didn’t think I was seeing a president. I thought, it’s tough to see a kid who now is an old man, and bald.”

Yuditskaya wouldn’t comment on Putin’s politics, in Crimea or elsewhere. She seemed more interested in the man than the politician, and looking back on the day they met in Jerusalem, Yuditskaya thinks of Putin as the student of whom she’s most proud.

“Why is he important to me?” she asked. “He remembers me.”

(JTA)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Meet Putin’s High School German Teacher, Now Living In Tel Aviv”

  1. he was an introvert

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Shimon Peres and Tony Blair shake hands in Jerusalem.
Tony Blair Steps Down as Quartet Middle East Envoy but No One Cares
Latest Sections Stories
Road sign in Russian and Yiddish greeting visitors on the road just outside Birobidzhan. (photo by Ben G. Frank)

Birobidzhan railway station sign is the world’s only one spelling the town’s name in Yiddish letters

Ayelet Shaked

She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base.

Teens-Twenties-logo

Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.

Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.

“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.

The nations of the world left the vessel to sit rotting in the water during one of the coldest winters in decades and with its starving and freezing passengers abandoned.

Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, declared, “The Young Israel of Deerfield Beach is looking forward to our partnership with the OU. The impact the OU has brought to Jewish communities throughout the country through its outreach and educational resources is enormous and we anticipate the same for our community in Deerfield Beach as well.”

More Articles from Ben Sales
Israeli winery

“You want to know what this wine looked like, which wine King David drank, white or red…. We can see if it’s red or white, strong or weak.”

IDF soldiers rush injured Israelis to Soroka Hospital in Beersheva after a mortar fired from Gaza exploded at an army staging area near Kibbutz Nirim, close to the Gaza border. The attack occurred shortly before a cease-fire went into effect on Tuesday. Three Israelis visiting the area were hit; two of them died of their wounds.

After a month, should the quiet hold, Israel and Hamas will restart indirect negotiations in Cairo on easing Israel’s blockade of the coastal strip and disarming the enclave.

Shlomy Zachary, an Israeli human rights lawyer, noted that Israeli cooperation with previous UN investigations has helped mitigate criticism of Israel – for example, in a 2010 UN investigation of the so-called flotilla incident.

Smart bombs: Israeli war technology isn’t limited to the home front.

“The values I learned from my parents are probably the same values I hope Christians and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists teach to their people.”

On Monday, Lapid told JTA that he would sooner agree to freeze settlement growth than free Palestinian prisoners, as Netanyahu has done previously in an effort to advance the process.

“He was like everyone else,” she said. “He was serious. He wouldn’t mess around. He would do what I said. He was quiet a lot and thought a lot. He did everything well.”

More than having a hand on the wheel, the year since the formation of the new government has seen Jewish Home and the coalition’s other smaller parties driving much of the government’s agenda. Netanyahu’s Likud party has taken a back seat on everything besides security affairs.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/meet-putins-high-school-german-teacher-now-living-in-tel-aviv/2014/04/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: