Yakov Kagan, age 79, was born in Belarus. His father was a combat soldier during World War II. His mother, along with her five children, was evacuated to Novosibirsk. During the evacuation, two of the five children died.
Yakov began working in a factory at age 14. He later attended university and worked as an engineer. His wife, Nina, age 72, was evacuated from Leningrad along with an orphanage. The Germans bombed the ships carrying evacuated children, many of whom were killed. The orphanage was evacuated to the Tumen area, where Nina’s mother subsequently joined her. After the war, Nina finished school and worked in a shop for 40 years.
Nina’s and Yakov’s monthly pensions are relatively small; he receives $177 and she $156. They are disabled and have limited mobility. Nina suffers from diabetes, while Yakov had a heart attack and suffers from adenoma. Among the help they both receive from The Jewish Charitable Committee of St. Petersburg are vital medications delivered to their home, debit cards to purchase food, and hot lunches eaten at the Hesed.