Ïîýìà Ì. Âèðèæíèêîâîé
No single worldly thing is everlasting
The flowers bloom, then blizzards rage
Through conquered eons we are passing
Disdaining ravages of age
We are born to give Eternity a service
We, human beings, inhabitants of Earth
And those who lived a shining life among us
Continue to live in spite of death
Without rain the rivers will dry out
Without sun the flowers will not bloom
If we don’t have a kind soul about
There wouldn’t be a life, but only gloom
To all of us, from Russian soil pariahs,
So helpless in this vast and foreign land
Appeared Dina Dvorkina - messiah
Sent to extend to us a helping hand
A magnet, to the library she drew us
We were privileged to form such a connection!
As an oasis for those thirsting Goodness,
A wellspring of compassion and affection
What is a person? A dust speck in the Cosmos?
A particle for winds to blow around?
No. A fountain of Enlightenment and utmost
Strength and Greatness with no bounds
Not on God’s mission from the after-world
She served the living to the very end
Now that she’s gone beyond Earth’s threshold
The grief in our hearts will not relent
Her soul’s bright burning and undying flames
Left an unerasable and everlasting mark
In each of us a part of her remains
And nothing will extinguish Dina’s spark
I have a journal; there is a note there
A note written in her own hand
Now it’s a memory of her loving care
That all who knew her felt firsthand
In everything she was extremely modest
And recognition she did not seek out
But she possessed a soul of rare greatness,
Which only among saints can be found
She is a saint; there isn’t any doubt
By anyone whom Dina’s care graced
And the amazing work she carried out
From our memories will never be erased
Life gives us good times and it also tests us
Sometimes it takes a very cruel turn
And into our homes despair enters
And we can’t see beyond our concern
When you are down, when the times are trying
When the ground under you begins to slip
Remember Dina - no complaints or crying
And gloom and fear will loosen their grip
Her kindness will flow with potency re-doubled
To fill your life with warmth and glow
She had the strength for all of our troubles
A great example we were privileged to know
She taught us patiently and so very tactfully
To show respect and love to every person
To be enlightened and to live in harmony
Whose own life could be a better lesson?
She should have lived past 100 in vitality
If we had saved her from death so callous
But she is gone, … Gone into immortality
For all we thank you, Dina, and forgive us
Translated by Boris Gendelev
Who is she?
From Colorado press
Librarian friendly force for refugees GLENDALE -
Soviet librarian Diana Dvorkina checks out books slowly
because she knows her Russian-speaking
readers have dozens of questions.
She has their confidence, having
survived 18 months in this strange land. When Soviet refugees
feel lost, or miss the intimate con- versation of the Moscow
kitchen, they go to Glendale Public Library.
The 36-year-old mother of two can
console them with books by Nabokov and Solzhenitsyn,
which have been difficult to get in the Soviet Union.
Then Dvorkina can tell them how she
hoarded potatoes and apples, too, when she first
went shopping in America, and how sometimes "it's easier to
be hungry than see all
of this food."
She can explain resumes and job interviews,
even give her home phone for medical emergencies. Dvorkina
doubles as refugee caseworker for the Colorado Department
of Health, helping impoverished refugees find downtown clinics
such as Planned Parenthood. In the Soviet Union, she
was a librarian in a reading room for shoe factory workers.
Then she trudged to a bus bound for shops that often were
empty. She would wait in lines for food, then trudge back
to another bus, a bag in each hand, and squeeze between other
passengers similarly bored by a deadening sameness.'
"You come home and you are going
to die. You are tired. And you wake up and it is the
same. I felt like I was 60. You know
it is the same, tomorrow, the day after."
The Dvorkinas lived in the Byelorussia
region, downwind of Chernobyl, where a nuclear power plant
suffered a meltdown April 26, 1986. It was a hot day, and
Dvorkina's children were playing outside, when a friend tele-
phoned from a radiology lab to say, "Be careful. Something
Dvorkina began bundling her children
"like ca,bbages" and closing the windows to keep out drafts
of bad air. Chernobyl, she says, is the
main reason she and her husband fled. She is bitter about
a Communist system in which
few people seem to care. "We have a joke. If you cannot work,
you will be the boss. If you cannot work at all, you will
be the big boss."
Yet Dvorkina fears the struggle for
pros perity in Aft.1erica may be equally hard.
aids immigrants Glendale
I 'big help' to emigres
-Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer
-When Inna Novicova and her family arrived in Glendale from
the Soviet Union three months ago, they didn't know where to
The 48-year-old woman, her husband,
Anatoly Gadayev, and their two sons had just left their home
in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic.
They had left behind family, their jobs and a world they knew
The Jewish Family and Children's Service
at the Jewish Community Center in Glendale sponsored their immigration
and resettlement. But their transition into this unfamiliar
culture was still confusing.
"We didn't know many things," Novicova
said, concentrating on her English. "Our friends says to us
there is a Russian library I ...for help."
That's the Glendale Public Library,
a small facility in the city's Community Center that has an
expanding Russian Language collection.
In the last few years, it has b("come
a haven for many of the Glendale area's estimated 500 Soviet
immigrants. They use it as a resource center and as a place
to meet other Soviet immigrants.
"I can tell you, this library is good
for people. The Russians really use it," said Diana Dvorkin,
an assistant at the library d and also a Russian immigrant.
"They come t to the library to have something for their hearts."
It It has subscriptions to two popular
Russian newspapers, Moscow News and Literaturnaya Gazetta,and
two Russian magazines. It also houses about 700 Russian volumes,
including many children's books.
Plus, a $20,044 grant from the Library
Service and Construction Act enables the library to offer their
Russian patrons more materials on English as a second language
and a number of programs dealing with employment and educational
issues. The 10 patrons account for a 40% increase in the d library's
circulation, officials said.
The library recently brought in volunteers
to help with a resume workshop and over the next few months
will supply interested immigrants with an interviewing-skills
"In this library, we have a very big
help," Novicova said. "They give us very good advice."
The Glendale library collection is
not as large as that at the Denver Public Library , but Dvorkin,
who worked 12 years as a librarian in Russia, insists it's more
personal and more widely used.
"I'm a professional. I know what is
good , and bad. In Denver Public, they ordered everything from
a catalog. This is a difference," she said.
The Glendale library can't keep more
than one-third of their collection in at one c time, library
manager Annette Choszczyk said. "The books go out almost instantly.
We have to hide them before they're checked in with us, otherwise,
they want to "I check them out," she said.
That's largely because the collection
offers the Russian immigrants a chance to, catch up on the literature
they couldn't read 1 when they lived in the Soviet Union because
it wasn't available or it had been destroyed, Dvorkin said.
When Russian authors left the country,
libraries and book stores were ordered to remove their books
from the shelves, Dvor- kin said.
"Yes, we had a rule. We were to take
the r books to a special place where a commission counted them
and then ruined them," she said.
From Minsk to Glendale with love and the
By Guy Kelly
Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer
GLENDALE -A suburb best known for its office towers and nightclubs is
turning into a second home for an increasing number of Soviet immigrants,
helping them through a confusing and often painful transition to a new
For many, the Glendale Public Library has become a bridge to the old
country, a place where they can talk to other immi- grants, read dozens
of Russian newspapers and magazines and learn about things American - from
auto insurance to income taxes.
"If this place didn't exist, I would have a much more difficult time,"
Leonid Dimenshteyn said Wednesday while reading Literaturnaya Gazeta, a
weekly Moscow publication covering arts and politics.
A 64-year-old retired engineer, Dimenshteyn arrived in the Denver area
with his wife three months ago after a lifetime in Minsk, Belarus. He found
a sometimes bewildering society, but he also found help. "Here, I can get
answers," Dimenshteyn said through translator jim Moore.
Glendale is the first stop for many of the metro area's 2,500 immigrants
from the former So- viet Union because of its proximi- ty to Jewish Family
Service, 1355 S. Colorado Blvd. The agency helps bring people to Denver
and helps them adjust to life in America, with such problems as dental
care to job training.
During the transition, the immigrants are provided apartments within
walking distance of the office; mostly in Glendale.
There they discover librarian Diana Dvorkin, and a small library on
the fourth floor of the Glendale Community Center that's become a haven
for people lonely for the sound of their native tongue.
"It's not easy to understand what's going on there now, not for us
and not for them," said Dvorkin, who came to the Denver area from Minsk
two years ago. "Everyday there is something new, and the changes are so
fast. This is a place where they I can gather and discuss things."
Dvorkin's parents, her brother and his family remain in Minsk where
turmoil has.heightened concern for their well-being. "They're scared,"
"They don't know if they can buy something tomorrow to feed their kids."
For those who leave family behind, the transition is especially difficult,
said Yana Vishnitsky, director of Russian resettlement for the Jewish Family
Service. "It is a trauma," she said.
"They feel numerous losses. The pain becomes less intense in time,
but it isn't easy. The library provides them with a social and intellectual
setting that's very helpful."
Rita Tsalyuk moved to the Denver area from Kiev, Ukraine, a year ago
and found the reality far less foreboding than the image her friends have
of Denver and the West.
"One woman said Denver was very small, just one street, with
every building on the same street," said Tsalyuk. "When I came to Denver,
I thought, how happy I am she was wrong."
Rabbi Raymond A. Zwerin
Temple Sinai / Denver
September 17, 2000
If only life were tidy and neat and clear from one end to the
other. If only life were determinate and predictable and totally
black and white without ifs, ands, buts, or areas of gray. If
only life, like a new product carried a warrantee, or a guarantee,
or the opportunity to "do it again" should we be dissatisfied,
or disappointed, or dismayed. Dull, perhaps, but eminently fair.
Life should be fair and neat and tidy from one end to the other.
Certainly, were life fair, Diana would still be among us. If life were
fair, none of our loved ones would ever die, nor would anyone again experience
pain, or deprivation, or disappointment, or disease, or infirmity. Perhaps
life was never meant to be fair, it was just meant to be . . . just that,
life -- an opportunity to share that which is the best, the most unique,
the most human aspects of ourselves with our loved ones and with the friends
we meet along the way. When we do just that, then life becomes significant.
Perhaps, life was not meant to be fair -- it was meant to be meaningful
and significant and blessed, for however long we are given to live it,
to enjoy it, to share it with those who must miss us dearly when we are
no longer among them.
Though her days were far too few, Diana lived with such positive energy
and such joy, and she made such a difference and accomplished so much as
to belie her 45 years. She was in love with life; she embraced it at every
level of her being; and, she shared it freely with those she cared for.
To a great extent, she taught others by example, how to live.
Diana Dvorkina was born in Minsk in 1954, the oldest or two children
to Bella and Lev. Her father [z'l] was a construction manager, a military
officer, a civil engineer. He died of the same disease that would ultimately
take his daughter. Bella [Rosovskya] is a physician. She maintained a practice
in the USSR for some 35 years.
Her earliest goal was to get a good education. She finished high school
in 1971, and then went on to attend at the Culture Institute in Minsk,
in the Faculty of Library Sciences. From an early age, Diana had a passion
for books and for reading. She read voraciously and quickly -- a talent
that would serve her in good stead throughout her professional career both
in Russia and in Denver.
During her last year at the university, friends introduced Diana and
Alex to one another. Although they attended the same university, they were
in different faculties, but it so happened that they were in the same elective
together. Seeing each other in class led to dating and less than a year
later, upon graduation, they were married in June of 1976. Almost immediately,
they expected their first child, but such joy was tempered by the fact
that Alex was almost immediately drafted and sent to serve in the far eastern
reaches of the country near Vladivostok. When Olga was born, the commander
of Alex's base did not deem it important to give him time off to visit
the family. And so, he didn't see his daughter for the first time until
she was 8 months-old.
When he did finally complete his military obligation, he returned to
Minsk. There were no apartments available for young couples getting started.
So the extended family had to make do. For the next four years Diana and
Alex and Olga lived alternated living with each of their parents. Finally,
they were able to rent a small studio apartment of their own. Michael was
born there – completing the family that Diana so dearly loved.
The 1970s were difficult times of struggle, but mainly because of the
system -- it was so capricious and subject to guess and luck and randomness.
But the young family thrived. In the late 1980s, Alex and Diana decided
that the system was too confining -- it choked off any chance of growing
and flourishing. Knowing that they were taking a huge risk in so many ways,
they applied for papers to emigrate. In 1989, with Gorbachev preaching
Glasnost, the doors opened a bit, and the Shmorguns were on their way out.
From Vienna they went to Italy for several months. Those were difficult
days indeed. There was little money, but Diana was an incredible manager.
She was an excellent cook and so was able to create masterpieces out of
practically nothing. In many ways, cooking was always a refuge for her.
She was intuitive in the kitchen – never used recipes, always ready to
experiment, eager to make the same dish in three of more ways at the same
meal so that everyone could express an opinion as to which version they
preferred. Cooking was her relaxation, her way of putting the stress and
tension of the day behind her.
In May 1989, the family arrived in Denver. For most recent arrivals,
there is a learning curve and a certain amount of down time before adapting
to the new culture and environment. Not so for Diana. She hit the ground
running, as they say. Within days, she had a job in a tailor shop and was
also working at the Shalom Workshop. At the same time, she began to learn
how to drive, began to volunteer at the Glendale Community Library, and
went to school to improve her English. Actually, by most standards, her
English was already pretty good. In Russia, during her college breaks,
she had worked as a tour guide for English speaking tourists, while in
college. Actually, one experience to come out of this job was fascinating.
It seems that Diana's parents' family had been separated during the aftermath
of the Russian Revolution. Most remained in Russia, but one relative went
to America. While guiding her tour one day for a group of visiting Americans,
she noticed that one of the women in the group was wearing a pendant that
was similar to the one that Diana wore. As they compared pendants, they
noted that they were indeed identical. When they both opened their pendants,
each has the same photo of a distant relative. The families has by sheer
Meanwhile, driven to succeed in Denver, it wasn't long before her activities
and efforts were noted. By the end of 1989, she got two job offers – one
a permanent position with the Glendale Library and the other with the Colorado
Dept. of Health. She accepted them both. The later position she worked
at for five years taking care of the medical needs of immigrants from Russia.
She was case manager and medical advocate – she learned the medical system
and helped especially low income families navigate through it. The job
was demanding and exhausting, but Diana loved every minute of it.
Her library job was for her the realization of a career passion. She
now had the chance to work at the profession she had studied and trained
for. When she first came to the Glendale Library, it was a small one floor
neighborhood walk-in. Realizing that the surrounding community consisted
of many new immigrants, Diana went to work transforming the place. She
found sources for Russian books receiving them by the case and reading
each one to see if it was worthy of shelving. She then realized that this
library was more than a reading room, it could become a community center.
And so she organized programs for Russian speaking immigrants -- tax advice,
banking advice, insurance advice, class in ESL, and more. She arranged
for speakers and counselors to volunteer their time on Sundays, and she
took it upon herself to be there in the Library working right alongside
them. It wasn't long before the library staff expanded significantly, and
Diana worker her way up to the equivalent of a supervisory position. Even
when her illness was long under way, she persisted in working and serving
Newspapers and TV stations on several occasions did stories about the
library and its unique clientele. Though she played a major role in its
transformation, Diana always stepped away from the spotlight She didn't
need the Kavod – it was enough for her to know that the job was getting
done and well.
When not at work, Diana loved to relax at home. And if not in her kitchen
experimenting, then she was in her garden urging the berries and vegetables
to grow. Or she was picking them -- fruit, tomatoes, and like and often
pickling them and sending the jars to friends and relatives often in other
countries. She loved the forest. She and Alex would go mushrooming from
time to time for the sheer fun of it. And she loved the mountains – even
a brief drive was like a vacation to her. And she loved to travel, be it
on the several cruises they took, on to visit Spain, Portugal, Morocco,
or Israel. To her, the Kotel – the Western Wall -- was a most special place.
She saw an aura there, as if the spirits of her people were rising. She
knew it was out of the ordinary.
Without a doubt, Diana's greatest joy was in her family. Her Alex was
love-mate, redeemer, and especially in these last several years, constant
helpmate and friend. Alex took care of his wife at home, tending to her
needs and serving as sounding board and patient companion. The entire family
is grateful to the many kindness shown them by First Data Corporation,
especially Darius Jack and Mike Skaff, for allowing him to work from home
and take time off whenever needed to take care of his dear wife. They were
so very understanding and generous of spirit.
And Mom loved her two children with all her heart. She was so very proud
of Olga graduating from Metro and becoming a ultrasound technician. And
how proud she was of Michael when he became a Bar Mitzvah at Temple Sinai
two years ago, and how she loved his musical interests and his quirky comments
and insights on just about everything. She was their problem solver and
open ear; their caring nurturer and constant source of encouragement.
She loved her dear mother Bella, and her brother Mikael and sister-in-law
Irena [Dvorkin] and their daughters Galena and Valentina. Family was precious
to her -- it lay at the essence of her being.
Our sympathies also go to her dear in-laws Ya'akov and Bella [Shmorgun]
and to cousins, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles and all of her coworkers
and friends who gather with us to bid our final respects to our dear Diana.
This was indeed and unusual and rare human being. She was a woman of
indomitable spirit, who fought her illness with vigor and tenacity. Her
spirit was strong within her. She never gave up hope and she never gave
in to self-pity. She lived with dignity and determination -- and in her
death, showed an inner strength from which we can all learn.
Memory is a wonderful gift. Through it we can rehearse and relive the
countless moments and experiences shared with one we loved so dearly. Each
of us, whether we knew Diana incidentally or intensely, is blessed with
the ability to recount our experiences with her. May such memories soften
the pain of this moment for those who dearly loved her. May such memories
cushion you against the pain of future times when her presence will be
so dearly missed. May such memories be a source of strength for all who
mourn his loss.
To Alex, her love mate for 25 years; to Olga and Michael, to Bella (God knows
that no parent should ever have to lose a child), to Mikael
and Irena and to all who knew and loved her ... may her memory
give you the strength to temper grief with a renewed passion
for life. Diana would have wanted you to honor her memory
by living each day to the fullest, by reaching out to others,
by caring about and for one another, by loving family ever
the more. And so may your lives be ever the more meaningful
and significant because you were blessed by the spirit of
this special soul. May she rest in peace. Amen
Glendale Library Manager, April 15, 2000
Today we lost a great and good person. Diana Dvorkina was an inspiration
to many, both as a librarian, a community leader and advocate, and as a
friend and mother. She approached everything she did with great enthusiasm,
energy and perseverance.
When she first walked into the Glendale Library, as a new refugee to
America, her English was still shaky, but she had the dream of once more
working at her beloved profession, Librarianship. That day began
a partnership that, literally, changed my life and changed many others
as well. Soon her English was fluent and her exceptional skills as
a librarian were once more in use. Over the nearly eleven years we
worked together we built the Glendale Library into a bilingual community
center to serve all the Russian speaking people of the city, as well as
a public library to serve all the people of the community in and surrounding
Glendale. She taught me so much, more than I can ever express, as
we worked together to serve our community.
As all the Russian speaking patrons of the library know, Diana worked
endlessly and tirelessly to serve them and to meet their needs. She
developed one of the finest collections of referral information designed
to answer the questions of new arrivals to this country and to also help
those who had been in this country for a while. She spent hours helping
people by phone and in person to find all the help they needed on any subject.
She also selected and built a popular Russian Language collection of materials
which is an asset to the entire State of Colorado. Her translated
programs on a variety of topics became well known and well attended.
She built a network of contacts in agencies and government to help her
work. And every day she worked with all the people who came into
the library treating each with compassion, concern, and professionalism.
Diana inspired us all to do our best work, to reach out to all people,
to try new ideas and make a library that was a “life-saving” place.
In the time we worked together the library grew more than either of us
had ever dreamed possible. Library use grew 2,000% and the Russian
speaking community grew along with us. We saw clubs form and concerts
begin, enrichment classes for children were held, and still people came
to learn English and to get help with all the challenging questions of
people starting a new life in a new country. We also welcomed
new staff members to our team and Diana taught them to have the same fire
and passion for helping others. She was a great counselor and coach
to staff and encouraged all of us to do excellent work. Helping to
bridge languages and cultures was one of her great gifts.
Over the years, I have read many letters from patrons thanking Diana
for her help and all of them mentioned her caring and her concern.
She would not stop until she got the answer to any question, no matter
how long it took or how hard it was to find. If she had to telephone
people all the way to Washington D.C., she would do it. Whether the question
took minutes or hours to answer, Diana never stopped until she was
satisfied with the answer. She was a fine researcher and organizer,
but most of all, she loved people and wanted to help them. She wanted
to make a real difference and she did.....EVERY day and with EVERY person
she worked with.
Diana faced illness with the same fighting spirit that she had when
she faced hard questions and stupid bureaucracy. She fought like
a lion and twice came back to us against unspeakable odds. We all
dreamed that she would win once again, but it was not to be, and we are
left gasping at her loss. I have lost a wonderful work partner and
a true friend. I only pray I can carry on the work she started.
It is the least I can do to honor the memory of a truly great person.
* * *
From the Association of Second World War Veterans of Denver
It is hard to see anyone to the last breath, especially such a
special person as Dina. The number of people who came to her for
help and advice cannot be counted. She was especially helpful solving
problems that were specific to immigrants. This was not in her work
description. It was beyond. She was a kind, honest and responsible
person who did so much good for others. She was a light in our hard
The Association of Veterans has a feeling of irreparable loss
and grieves together with her family, friends and all those who loved and
respected her. She was a friend, counselor, and source of ideas and
programs that were initiated for the Russian Speaking Community and the
We will always need her. Rest in Peace, Dinochka.
President, Veterans Association
* * *
We are grieving over the loss of Dina, who was a very good friend and
wonderful person. She was clever, honest, and helpful. She
made it her goal to help people. She considered that to be her duty,
and did it very professionally. She helped everybody who needed help,
no matter what nationality or social status of the person had. Our
condolences is going to the relatives and friends of Dina Dvorkina.
The Association of Scientists
* * *
The untimely death of Diana Dvorkina, the one who initiated the
Russian collection of the Glendale Library, was a true shock to us.
Diana was a person of great soul and strong will. It is
difficult to imagine, but in her last months, she continued to help those
who came to her with their problems. No on even suspected that she
was suffering strong pain. She took care of other until her last
moment, never mentioning that she needed care.
We express our condolences to Dina’s family, her friends, and
everyone who knew her. It is a very hard loss and illogical death.
It is rare to meet such a bright, extraordinary person in this
(Colorado Association of Russian Speaking Physicians)
* * *
Our condolences to the relatives and friends of our friend and
co-worker Diana Dvorkina. Her death is very hard for us. She
can never be replaced. She was a fine example of decency and honesty;
completely unselfish. She will always remain this way in our hearts
Children’s Center for Science, Art and Sport
* * *
At the height of her professional career, one of the most outstanding
persons of Denver immigration, Diana Dvorkina, untimely passed away on
September 15, 2000.
For a long period of time, she carried good to people, and helped
those who needed support and advice. Thanks to her efforts and great
love of people, this small library in the small city of Glendale became
the center and symbol of the Russian Speaking Community of Colorado.
Today, looking back, it is difficult to imagine how many projects she initiated.
She preferred to work quietly in the background, and let her actions speak
for themselves. However, due to the magnitude of her personality,
it is almost impossible to find someone she did not help in some way.
She was not only a source of very important and accurate information and
a wise counselor, but also the initiator of unique programs and cultural
events. She was the heart and soul of many different clubs and associations.
She was like a representative of the Russian Speaking Community, the link
in the chain, which connected us to State officials. Thanks to her
efforts, many programs to support seniors, children and low-income families
became widely recognized. She helped people find new jobs, and to
find their place in their new lives here in America.
She was a very wise politician and brilliant organizer.
She could explain the problems of new immigrants to State officials, and
could make them see things in a new light. Her unique knowledge,
experience and deep love for those whom she helped brought the respect
of all those who worked with her. For American people, she represented
the best in Russian immigrants. For us, she was like a pioneer, showing
us all the best of American life, without claiming any personal gain.
No matter the Newcomer’s nationality, background or religious preference,
they all went to Dina. They knew they could find real help through
her. She made call for those in difficulty. She was our Savior.
Those who came after her thought she had always been here and hoped she
always would be. But life had other plans. We are all grieving
over this irreplaceable loss.
The Colorado Guild of Journalists and Russian Speaking Representatives of
the Mass Media
* * *
“Never” is such a scary word.
We will never look into her attentive, sympathetic eyes, will
never hear her soft voice. She helped a lot of people. She
did not wait for some one to ask her. She always made the first move
to help someone.
She was an excellent daughter, affectionate wife, wonderful mother
and very professional Librarian. God takes the best. But it
happened too early. We are all grieving for her. She will be
in our hearts forever.
* * *
The Cultural Center of the Russian Speaking Community of Denver
is grieving over the untimely loss of a very prominent public figure in
the culture of Denver Russian Immigrants, and the creator and permanent
leader of the Russian Library, Diana Dvorkina, which came after a long
and difficult illness.
Our condolences to her family and relatives.
* * *
We want to express our condolences to Dina’s family and relatives.
She was a key person in our club. Dina Dvorkina knew folk songs very
well. Together with her husband Alex, she participated in a lot of
folk festivals. She loved and understood these songs very much.
When our club was created she helped arrange meeting rooms and helped organize
the first rehearsals. She gave very important advice. She could
not attend all of our concerts, but we always felt her support. The
memory of her will be with us forever.
President, Denver Song Club
* * *
Death always takes the best. But it is so hard to accept that,
as it’s hard to accept Diana Dvorkina’s untimely passing. She will
always be and example of kindness, decency and a tremendous love of people.
She could accomplish any project she tried. The Russian collection
at the library was growing, and social programs were beginning. People
started to speak English, found jobs, passed Naturalization exams, learned
about income tax, opened businesses, and bought houses. In all these
events, there was a part of Dina’s work. Only close relatives knew
how much effort all this took. Dina was the soul of the Russian speaking
One of her goals was the creation of a center for Russian speaking
immigrants which could host the Russian theatre, the Children’s Education
Center, different Russian clubs and which would include space for the Glendale
Library’s Russian collection. Her untimely death stopped this project.
But we believe that such a center will be created and it will become
a memorial to all the good things that she did for our people.
The editorial staff of the newspaper “Gorizont”
* * *
The death of Dina Dvorkina - a great person, was a real shock
for us. We were longtime friends. And we always asked her for an advice.
Today many people feel lonely, like orphans. We want to address our words
of consolation to her relatives exactly as she would do for others.
The editorial staff of the newspaper “Vestnik”
* * *
The loss of Dina Dvorkina is very hard for the whole Russian
speaking community. She was, by nature, a leader. She was highly
intelligent, and had courage and compassion. She devoted her life
to making new immigrants’ life in this country a little easier.
Her efforts showed results.
She set high goals, and always attained them. She influenced
all social projects in which she had a hand. She had a positive impact
on all whom she touched, and left us with fond memories.
American Association of Jewish Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union
* * *
Too early, Dina Dvorkina left this life. She was a highly
educated, very kind soul. Everyone who knew her loved and respected
her. Working in the library, she helped all Denver immigrants with
advice, kind words and compassion. She used her education and knowledge
to help others, and acquired a lot of friends. It is impossible to
forget Dina. To accept her loss is very difficult for all of us.
We, too, are grieving, and wish to express our condolences to
her mother, husband and children.
Russian Book Club
* * *
We are grieving over the loss of Dina. We knew Dina Dvorkina
as a very compassionate person; very attentive to other people’s problems.
She was always ready to help; always thinking about other people.
Every one she touched will never forget her. Our condolences
is going to the members of her family, her co-workers, and her friends.
Consul of Russian Federation,
San Francisco, CA
* * *
A Person with a Wondrous Soul
The City of Glendale, the Russian Speaking community of Denver, and
the Glendale Library lost Dina Dvorkina, a very special and talented person.
Dina was very hardworking, kind sympathetic and attentive to other peoples’
Over the last ten years, the Glendale Library became an information
center. The library initiated many programs for Russian Speaking
immigrants. We can study English, learn about American culture, and
learn to adjust to our new life here. The many meetings, lectures
and consultations were very helpful to us. All this was due to the
efforts of Dina Dvorkina.
Dina created a unique collection of Russian literature in Colorado.
For many years I worked at an Engineering College in Minsk, but even we
did not have such a large and varied collection as Dina managed to acquire
in the Glendale Library.
All immigrants know this library very well. Dina always
gave very clever and helpful advice. Not every person can be so helpful.
It is a gift, and Dina possessed that gift. I also want to stress
that Dina did this without any expectations of material rewards.
She always made time for others, whether during work hours, or on her own
time. People could also count on her sincerest sympathy, attention
to their problems, and her support.
The greatness of a person is measured by their actions.
In her 45 years Dina accomplished enough for several lifetimes. She
possessed a very bright and unique personality. Dina left enough
good memories to last for several years. We are grieving over the
loss of Dina and the memory of this amazing woman will be with us forever.
On behalf of my family, relatives, and friends,
Letter to “Gorizont”
* * *
“Gorizont” staff writer
On the 8th of December, Dina would have been 46 years old. There
is a saying that God takes only the best, but that’s hard to accept.
The entire Russian speaking community feels orphaned. The funeral
took place on September 17 at the Fairmont Cemetery. Several hundred
people were in attendance. Mark Nolskiy says you can judge the character
of the departed by those who come to say farewell.
Dina was born in Minsk. She graduated from the Institute of Culture.
She began to work as a librarian while she was still a student. The “Kingdom
of Books” became her profession. Dina’s husband, Alex, says she strove
to make her work interesting; to be more creative.
They came to Denver in 1989. Soon afterward, Dina began working
at the Glendale Library while at the same time working at the Department
of Health in the Refugee Health program. She worked for this program
for five years, helping new immigrants solving their unexpected problems.
Many times, she was called to the hospital in the middle of the night to
act as translator and to serve as a source of solace for the ill.
Dina worked hard, but never complained. She never let on how
hard she really worked. Her work with refugees gave her the experience
and the vital knowledge about hospitals, physicians, services and programs
that existed to help the needy. It also provided contacts that with
officials and specialists that she called on later. Dina could always
get in touch with the right person in the right place to get things done.
She always managed to do what some said could not be done. Her organizational
skills showed in everything she did.
One of her main personal characteristics was a sense of modesty.
Dina took part in the creation of the Glendale Public Library, which has
been widely covered by the Denver press and TV. But the mass media
always made mention of the library and its programs, and never Dina herself.
She was a significant force in the “life of Russian Denver.” Many
times, we tried to write an article about her, but she always said “later.”
So we are writing about her now. But she will never be able to read
Her house was always full of guests, and Dina was a very gracious hostess.
She always enjoyed cooking and creating her own recipes. This same
creativeness was evident in her work.
The manager of the Glendale Library, Annette Chosczcyk, with whom Dina
worked for over 10 years, remembers: “The library was on Fairfax, and open
only three days a week. We only had two shelves of books, none of
them in Russian. Together, Dina and I decided to create a Russian
collection, to get financial support for it, and to buy books in the Russian
language. Gradually, we gained connections with various offices,
and immigrants began coming to the library. They understood that
we could help them and they felt comfortable here. In 1990 the library
expanded and moved into the new building. Dina was still busy with
the Russian collection, contacting different publishers and bookstores,
and helping to hire and to train the new staff. Due to Dina’s efforts,
immigrants had access to literature and newspapers in their own language.
Today, the size and circulation of the Russian literature collection has
increased over 2,000%, and over one half of the library’s patrons are Russian.
That would not have happened without Dina’s energy.”
One of the last conversations between Dina and Annette concerned a new
Glendale Public Library building, which would include a concert hall, and
rooms for lectures and clubs. Dina thought about the future, and
would never give up. Today everyone says that Dina has helped thousands
of immigrants who didn’t know where to turn for help. Due to Dina’s
efforts, the library contained all necessary information for new immigrants.
Even today it’s difficult to fathom her creativeness. She created
a catalogue of frequently asked questions and answers for new immigrants.
That was not in her job description. It was done by her own initiative.
She was dreaming of the creation of a Russian Center. She wanted
to help those who needed it. Dina was always glad to see new clubs
formed and helped to arrange meetings. She saw them as the real life
of the community. People could use their knowledge in these clubs,
and expand their emotional well being.
Dina was the first to initiate the ESL classes, which still exist.
At first, there was only one volunteer teacher. Then Annette and
Dina received funding which allowed for salaried teachers and more classes
Annette says: “Dina was one of my best friends and I was very proud of
this friendship. We often spent holidays together, and I enjoyed
the “Russian” evenings with Dina’s family. Both of our husbands would
play guitar and we would sing songs. Dina would tell about life in
the USSR and tell of the difficulties of leaving through Italy, with little
money and no work.”
Sofa Moyn has worked in the library since 1992. She is speaking
talked about Dina: “These days a lot of people call to the Glendale Public
Library and suggest to name it “Dina Dvorkina’s Library.” They
consider the library as the creation of her. If the Library administration
would do that, it would be a fitting tribute to Dina. People call
us “The Russian Library”, but we just have a large collection of Russian
material. Our library, with its Russian collection, and as a center
for the Russian speaking community of Denver, is the best memorial to Dina.”
Dina also was the on to organize ESL classes for working people as well
as for seniors. She managed to prove that the knowledge of language
is very important to be able to adapt to a new country. Before that,
seniors were not accepted in ESL program. Some say that it’s not
a big deal to give advice. But in a new country, with limited English
and not knowing the reality and the rules—it is a very big deal.
Often people do not know where to go with their problems. We do not
have an official informative counseling center in Denver. So people
told each other “Go see Dina.”
Many people did go to see her. In fact, people lined up to talk
to Dina. She could convince people that everything would turn out
all right, and to take action to solve their problems. The secret
to the deep respect felt for Dina is that she didn’t only give advice,
but she helped find solutions. Many professionals also held a deep
respect for her, and could be called upon to help with different seminars
and meetings that addressed the needs of immigrants. These included
seminars with the INS, the IRS, real estate professionals, etc. Hundreds
of people came to these programs. These meetings were usually held
in the evenings, and Dina would act as translator and facilitator.
She could have been at home, spending time with her family, but chose to
be helping people instead. And she never received any monetary rewards
We talked to Sofia for a long time, and she gave us dozens of examples
of how Dina helped different people. We could write many pages about
Dina, but they would not fit into one article.
Now I must tell the story of Alex Yudovich, who is active in many of
the Russian clubs here in Denver. In Alex’s opinion, Dina didn’t
do all these things as a job. She did them as a labor of love.
She could help and give advice in a very unobtrusive manner. She
always said, “I think this would be the right thing to do.” But she
always required that everything be done strictly by the letter of the law.
“ Dina was a very romantic person. She took problems of others
as her own. At the same time, she was very realistic and disciplined.
That’s how she could accomplish so much. She had a very big heart.
People would even call her at home, and she always made time for them.
Moreover, she would take the time to call back to find out if everything
had come out OK. She wanted to make people feel safe here.
She initiated the ESL classes for seniors even before U.S. laws required
a person to be a citizen to receive benefits. Now, the entire third
floor of the library is devoted to teaching English.
Dina was full of different ideas. She wanted to obtain literature
in Yiddish. She wanted to create a group where people with many different
ideas could come together to share them. She had plans for all of
this, but she was already ill. However, I never heard her complain.
Dina never even showed in any way that she was ill. Her assistance
to the various clubs was invaluable. She not only arranged for a
place for these clubs to meet, but was always aware of what the different
clubs were doing. It was Dina who first suggested a book club.”
Sam Dukarevich, of the Association of Scientists:
“Dina was that rare type of person who made it her profession to help
people. This became her goal in life. She had immense
energy to give to others. I experienced it myself. I hope the
remaining library staff will preserve the traditions she began. Dina
was a very good friend and major supporter of our association. We
shared many ideas, and she helped make them a reality. I want to
stress her respect, help and understanding for our association.”
Vladimir German, of the Association of Second World War Veterans:
“Dina created an oasis in Denver: our Russian library. This was
a place we have loved to gather. I think the library is the best
memorial to Dina. It would be nice to have a plaque in Dina’s honor
in the library. She deserves it due to her devotion. Dina did
a lot for our group. She understood, better than most, how important
her attention was for older immigrants who survived WWII and ghetto.”
Nelly Morgovskaya, of the Russian Book Club remembers:
“Dina was a very kind person who helped everyone, including our club.
She assisted us select material, arrange meeting rooms, and even organized
free food for Thanksgiving.”
Suzanna Kalikhshteyn, of the Club of Meetings with Interesting People
“For more than two years I had worked as a volunteer in the library
(1992-1994). I witnessed how people came to Dina with questions that
actually should have been handled by some official agency. Sometimes,
I asked Dina why she did this. She explained that these people needed
someone to talk to, who understood what it was like to start a new life.
She was like that until her last day.”
The author wishes to thank everyone who participated in creating this
portrait of a person whose role in the life of the Russian speaking community
was so immeasurable that we cannot fully undersatnd our loss yet.
There is a Jewish saying that when a person dies, they take with them not
what they had in life, but what they gave to others. Dina took the
love and gratitude of hundreds of people, and her memory will live among
these people forever.
Her final tribute: a handful of earth.
* * *
The following people wish to express their condolences
to the family of Diana Dvorkina:
The Moyn family
The Lozinsky family
Bronya and Efim Zhuk
Lyudmila and Mikhail Azturyansky
Olga Zaturenskaya and Victor Rusakevich
Marina and Mikhail Shelkovich
Elena and Sergei Sobolev
Elena and Boris Shokhrin
Sofia and Mikhail Mozhaikin
Alex and Marina Voskresensky
Leonid and Lev Reznikov
Maya abd Vladimir Kunin
Cvetlana and Vladimire Lepher
Marina Zharikova and Erna Karakulina
We are grieving over this loss. We remember Dina as a beautiful
wife, excellent mother and a very special lady. Please be aware that
our feelings are with you and with all your family. We can
feel your pain.
Tamara, Anna, Ilya Getmansky Israel
It is painful to say goodbye to Dina. The death of any person is a very
sad event. It is twice as bad when it is a close friend or relative.
It is bad enough when the loved one has lived a long and useful life,
but even more tragic when someone so young and beautiful is taken from
us. She was our friend and relative and we cannot find the words
to express our grief.
She was an outgoing person who loved to cook and entertain. She
was always the perfect hostess. She was there for us when we were
new here, and offered her advice freely. We have never forgotten
her help, and we never will. Helping newly arrived immigrants became
her passion. She was very competent, and had boundless energy when
helping others. The entire Russian community knew her.
Some people knew that Dina was very ill. But only those who were close
to her knew how ill she was, and how hard she was fighting. Her struggles
seemed, for a while, to give her a chance. Her family was also helping
her in her struggle, and doing everything they could. Unfortunately,
the disease was even stronger than her will. It is difficult to restrain
our tears. We are unable to console her mother, Bella, husband Alex,
son Michael, daughter Olga, and brother Michael. We are with them
in their time of grief.
Goodbye Dina. You well be in our hearts forever.
Inna, Volodya, and Lena Lerner
I express my sincere condolences to Dina’s family, her friends, and
the entire Russian Speaking Community of Colorado.
This is a terrible loss, not only for those who were close to Dina,
or who knew her, but also to those who are just beginning a new life in
Eleven years ago, Dina helped my family take our first steps in this
new country. Since then, all my friends who came to Colorado went to Dina
for advice. I want to believe that there will be others who will
honor Dina’s memory by helping other newcomers.
It would be fitting that a permanent fund in Dina’s memory be established
to help other Russian immigrants in need. The money from this fund
could be used for medical needs and legal assistance. Perhaps, with
the help of the Glendale Public Library, we could establish an annual competition
among the children of Russian immigrants, the winner receiving a scholarship
in Dina’s memory to allow them to attend the most prestigious universities.
Let’s dedicate the next issues of Gorizont and Vestnik to Dina, and
publish articles about her, photos, and the letters from those whom she
The memories of Dina are not only those of a wonderful person with
talents of kindness and compassion, but also of those things which are
the best of Russian character and culture. Our children and we need
to remember this.
One Bright Star called Dina is Gone from the Universe
We lost our beloved Dina. She was a person of rare charm and kindness;
a very sympathetic person.
We’ve been friends of the Dvorkina family for a long time, and
knew Dina since she was small. It was amazing how talented she was.
She had excellent taste. Her painting and knitting reflected the
beauty of the world around her. She shared these remarkable talents
and traits not only with her family and friends, but with others as well.
Her union with Alex complimented her talents, and allowed her to be even
more helpful to others.
The tragic death took away her bright soul. Many people
in Denver, and her hometown of Minsk, feel orphaned by the loss.
We are grieving over the irreplaceable loss of this dear person.
We have so many memories of her with which we can console ourselves.
We can never forget Dina. She will always be remembered
by her adoring husband, children, relatives and friends.
On behalf of the Shulman family and Dina’s Belarussian friends,
Professor Zinoviy Shulman
Honored Scientist of Belarussia