Speak Memory preserves the voices of the disappearing generation.

Moments tick into minutes, days, decades. Our loved ones are here, and then they are not. If we're lucky, we're left with their memories. These delicate connections to distant times and foreign places inform who we are today.  

We are Yulia and Marina. We collect stories, pictures, memories.  Our own grandparents, Russian-Jewish WWII survivors, are gone, and, along with them, the memories of their experiences. We wish we did more to preserve their stories to pass along to our children.  Speak Memory allows us to do this for others.


WWII was a particularly trying time for European Jewry who suffered the horrors of the Holocaust and the purges under Stalinist oppression.  As the men and women who lived through these atrocities slip away, we are inspired to document their stories and capture their likenesses. Our portraits are meant to present the hardships they endured while honoring the resilience that helped them survive and rebuild their lives. We are preserving their memories for generations to come.

Our hope is for our own generation to take pause, reflect on their heritage, and reconnect with their Jewish identity. Above all, we encourage any one with living grandparents to reach out and listen.

We are funded by Jewish Community Service, the Genesis Fund, and by generous donations from people like you. Thank you. If you or your relatives have something to share with us, please get in touch.

Speak Memory was originally conceived as a COJECO BluePrint Fellowship project funded by the UJA-Federation of New York and Genesis Philanthropy Group. We receive funding from the Russian Jewish IGI by Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties and from individual donations by members of the community.