HONORING NAAKH VYSOKY; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 185
(Extensions of Remarks - December 18, 2015)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1837-E1838]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                         HONORING NAAKH VYSOKY


                        HON. MICHAEL E. CAPUANO

                            of massachusetts

                    in the house of representatives

                       Friday, December 18, 2015

  Mr. CAPUANO. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to recognize 
one of the most distinguished constituents in my district, Naakh 
Vysoky, who will turn ninety-five on January 3, 2016. Quite simply Mr. 
Vysoky is a man who overcame some of life's greatest obstacles to 
become a champion within the field of medicine and a respected leader 
amongst the Russian Jewish Community.
  Naakh Vysoky was born in 1921, in Kishinev, Moldavia, when it was 
still a part of Romania. In 1940, during an invasion by the U.S.S.R., 
the Soviets considered his family ``rich'' and took almost everything 
they owned. Hardship and tragedy again struck Naakh's family in 1941 
when Nazi Germany invaded Romania. Naakh witnessed the death of his

[[Page E1838]]

mother, sister, brother-in-law and a young nephew. To compound matters 
further, he also lost all contact with his father.
  Forced to make an almost impossible choice, Naakh escaped Nazi 
persecution by fleeing to the Soviet Union. He was immediately sent to 
a Siberian concentration camp. After several years in this camp--and 
having witnessed countless deaths of his friends almost on a daily 
basis--he was given an option to stay there or join the Soviet Army to 
fight the Nazis. He chose to fight and was wounded shortly after. While 
in the hospital during his recovery, Naakh was recruited and trained to 
become a medical professional. He spent the rest of the war working at 
that hospital and helping countless wounded soldiers and civilians.
  After the war, Naakh embarked upon an extensive search for his father 
and found him in 1948 in the City of Chernowetz. Although the city had 
been part of Romania, it was then part of the western Ukraine inside 
the Soviet Union. When the U.S.S.R. closed their borders, Naakh's hopes 
of emigrating were dashed. However, he was able to find a good hospital 
job and a place to live in Storoshinetz, one of Chernowetz's suburbs. 
While there, Naakh was recognized as a talented medical professional 
who championed efforts to provide the best quality of care for 
countless people. In 1952, he married his wife Klara, who was a school 
teacher. Two years later, his daughter Faina was born. His wife Klara 
became one of the most respected teachers in the region due to her 
strong advocacy for education and her devotion to her students.
  During his time in Storoshinetz, Naakh became increasingly alarmed 
and appalled at the rampant anti-Semitism that existed under the 
oppressive Soviet regime. In 1972, due to the international movement 
against Soviet anti-Semitism, the possibility of immigration became 
real. However, that same year, Faina was accepted into medical school 
in Chernowetz. Naakh decided to stay so Faina could attain her medical 
degree. Once that was achieved, Naakh and his family applied for 
permission to leave the Soviet Union within a month of Faina's 
graduation and wedding, and, in October of 1979, left the Soviet Union 
for New York in the United States.
  Upon their arrival in New York, Naakh's grandson Gregory was born. 
Naakh and Klara dedicated their lives to taking care of Gregory and 
making sure Faina had every opportunity to study and become a physician 
in America. It was a very special day for the family when Faina passed 
her qualifying exam for a foreign medical graduate degree in September 
1980, less than a year after their arrival. With great pride, Naakh and 
Klara watched their daughter, now Faina Shtern, become the first 
Russian-born physician to be appointed by the Massachusetts General 
Hospital, Harvard Medical School in 1984, and then recognized as a 
leader in the field of Radiology, when she became Chief of the 
Diagnostic Imaging Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute in 
  A year later, in 1985, Naakh and Klara followed Faina to Boston, 
where they had helped countless members of the Russian Jewish Community 
(RJC) in Brighton and Allston and championed their causes. Several 
years later, Naakh was elected a leader of the RJC grass roots 
movement. He has been serving in that capacity ever since and has 
received wide recognition for his leadership and accomplishments. A 
number of elected officials, including former Massachusetts Governor 
Deval Patrick and the current Governor Charlie Baker; members of the 
Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, members of the Massachusetts 
State Legislature, former Boston mayor Thomas Menino, and the current 
mayor of Boston, the Honorable Marty Walsh; and the Boston City 
Council, have all risen to acknowledge Naakh for his service to the 
Commonwealth and the Russian Jewish Community.
  With all this in mind, I want to acknowledge and sincerely thank 
Naakh Vysoky for his many contributions and wish him a very happy 
birthday and pray that he has many more to come.