Yevgeniya Lebedeva was born on February 19, 1922 in the town of Pavlograd, Ukraine to the parents of Lev Lebedeva and his wife Faina. Yevgeniya’s father was a pharmacist and her parents had two boys and two girls. In 1925, her family tried to move to Tashkent, Uzbekistan where many of their relatives lived and her father was offered a job as a pharmacist there. The move to this new city was far and when they arrived, her father’s job offer was no longer available to him. This prompted an offer for Yevgeniya’s father to open his own pharmacy in the town of Sary-Asach, 20km away from Tashkent. There she pursued Industrial studies at an Institute where she eventually graduated with a diploma of excellence after the war. When she heard the radio announcement that the Nazis had attacked her motherland during her first semester, she was in great shock and knew her life would never be the same.
Yevgeniya was very patriotic; she wanted to join the army along with many other students despite her poor vision. Three months long radio telegrapher programs became common, and she enrolled in one. The youth was happy and willing to join the military and her brother escorted her to the train, making her promise she would survive the war and return. The army was not prepared for women to join and they had to wear men’s oversized uniforms. Yevgeniya was brave and insisted on fighting in the war front. Thus, as a member of an army, she witnessed ruined many cities including Odessa and Stalingrad. There were great bombings on ice, and they couldn’t see the planes in the sky. The army improved with time and it was the Nazis’ lack of preparation that enabled them to survive. The war front was split into three Belarusian sections and one Ukrainian section. The radio made it easy to know of locations and not all Nazis supported Hitler; some of the bombs that were dropped were full of sand. Many miraculous and lucky events enabled Yevgeniya’s and the army’s survival.
Yevgeniya received many medals for her military accomplishments and graduated from the Industrial Institute in Tashkent after the war. In 1988, she immigrated to the United States with her family and had two sons. Yevgeniya is very thankful to the Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, where she was greeted very warmly upon her immigration. For the past 21 years, she has successfully run a book club.