The Holocaust survivor, 87, facing eviction in California: ‘Will they throw me to the ground?’

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Exclusive: Musiy Rishin speaks up about proprietor who desires wealthier renters and has actually battled to evict him and his passing away boy

Musiy Rishin understands how to endure.

He directly left the Nazis’ massacre of Jews in the Ukraine in 1941. His household endured wartime starvation, and an earthquake in Uzbekistan, prior to they left political chaos in 1998. He stood firm after the current deaths of his partner and child.

But now, the 87-year-old is confronted with a danger that he hesitates he will not make it through: his California proprietor is evicting him to generate wealthier occupants, and he has no place else to go.

“Will they begin actually tossing me to the ground?” the handicapped Holocaust survivor stated on a current afternoon, seated inside his living space of 17 years in Alameda. His household discovered haven in this northern California city after they were required to leave Uzbekistan. “I am a senior male. Aren’t you embarrassed? Do not you think in fairness? They have no heart and no soul.”

The expulsion of Rishin offers a grim illustration of the extreme real estate crisis in the Bay Area , the absence of defenses for a few of the most susceptible individuals, and the harassment and abuse that senior and ill occupants can deal with in the last years of their lives , supporters stated.

The proprietors, who have actually been combating to kick out Rishin for a year, likewise targeted his terminally ill child, Yaroslav, who coped with him in the home till his death in April. The owners, whose official factor for the expulsion is “desire to rent the system at a greater rental rate”, sent out numerous termination notifications and dangers to the household while Yaroslav was battling cancer and while he remained in hospice care.

Musiy Rishin wipes away tears while discussing his life and his household’s escape from Ukraine throughout the 2nd world war. Photo: Michael Short/The Guardian

The owners’legal representatives likewise submitted an official expulsion claim that called Yaroslav as an accused– after he was currently dead.

“It’s like kicking out someone to his tomb,”stated Svetlana Rishina, Musiy’s child. Her bro was troubled about the expulsion in his last weeks, which he invested bedridden in the house, she stated:”He would state, ‘Is the constable going to can be found in and put me out on the curb in my medical facility bed?’I will be extremely cold, and I will pass away an awful death.’That consumed his last days.”

‘We left whatever behind’

Musiy Rishin’s modest second-story, two-bedroom house lies on a peaceful street near the coast on the island of Alameda, a city in the bay in between San Francisco and Oakland. The location seems like the suburban areas however remains in the center of a metropolitan area with a few of the most unaffordable leas in the nation, a homelessness emergency situation and expensive Silicon Valley wealth .

“As Englishmen state, ‘my house is my castle, ‘”Musiy stated, speaking in Russian, as his child equated. He indicated bookshelves he developed, his preferred literature, pictures of his late other half and all the keepsakes in his apartment or condo that he had actually collected throughout his life. “To me, stability of a house was the objective.”


Musiy is deeply knowledgeable about unsteady living conditions, beginning with his youth in Dnepropetrovsk in Ukraine throughout the 2nd world war.

“It is so difficult for me to speak about,”he stated, remembering the day when he was 9 years nazi and old bombers surrounded his city. He broke down as he kept in mind the rush to get away, and the crowd that was so thick that they might barely move. He and his household handled to board a train:”We dropped whatever and got away.”Loved ones who didn’t make it out were eliminated.

They settled in Uzbekistan, where he fulfilled his other half when they were both 19 years of ages and wound up at the very same table at the university:” We fell in love, and we never ever parted even for one day. “

He remembered the overcrowded real estate in Uzbekistan, with several generations of a household required to share a single space. He likewise needed to restore his household’s house after a 1966 earthquake. In 1998, civil wars and political uprisings required them to get away to the United States: “We left whatever behind for the 2nd time. “

The The Dunes apartment in Alameda, California, where Musiy Rishin has actually lived for 17 years. Photo: Michael Short/The Guardian

> In Alameda, they got a coupon from the United States federal government’s Section 8 real estate program, which funds lease for low-income occupants.

“What the upper class have actually welcomed us,” he stated of the transfer to California.”We’ve been dealt with extremely warmly in this nation. “

But issues with his property owner intensified in time, and after that in 2015, the notifications began


An expulsion on his deathbed:’He was suffering’

The very first letter on 14 August 2018 stated the proprietors, Margaret Tam and her child Spencer Tam, would be increasing their lease by almost $700 (from$2,520 to $3200).

“It was so unforeseen and outrageous,”he stated.”All I have actually left is cash for food and some minimum things to look after myself. “

Before he might even contest the boost, the property owners returned with a far more frightening letter 2 weeks later on: they had actually chosen to evict him and his boy, and they had 90 days to leave.

“We would never ever have actually envisioned that somebody would kick us out,” he stated, choking up as he kept in mind that the house holds the “memories of individuals so dear to me”.

Yaroslav’s health was degrading at the time of the very first notifications, and at one point, he needed to be eliminated in an ambulance. The home management in the structure understood that Yaroslav was seriously ill, the household stated. The property owners continued the expulsion fight.

” Doctors were informing us daily he was passing away, “stated Svetlana, including that the proprietors handed her daddy another termination notification in December when he was on his method to the healthcare facility to see his child. The property managers likewise wrongly implicated him of paying lease late, requiring a$ 75 late charge and after that later on stating it was a”error”, records reveal.

Musiy’s health likewise started to suffer due to tension. “I got seriously depressed,”he stated.”My physicians were attempting to soothe me down. “

Photo collage

By February, physicians for Yaroslav, who had colon cancer, informed the household there was absolutely nothing left they might do, stating,”‘You simply need to make his life as comfy as possible– offer him the very best life you can,'”Svetlana remembered.

The proprietors made that difficult. The last expulsion notification was sent out on 3 April, and the household attempted to hide it from Yaroslav, however he understood what was taking place and might not stop speaking about his worries of passing away on the street, his sis stated.”It was extremely harsh. “

He passed away 2 weeks later on at age 57.

“He understood and he was truly suffering about this,”Musiy stated.”I dislike thinking of it.”

“It entirely robbed my sibling of a serene ending to his life,”Svetlana included.

After the death, the property managers intensified their expulsion efforts, submitting an official claim to have actually Musiy eliminated– and calling his late boy on the legal problem.

The case is moving through the courts. Area 8 renters have very little securities in Alameda, where there are likewise couple of property owners who accept the coupons. That implies Musiy is lacking time and alternatives.

In a prolonged phone interview, Margaret Tam safeguarded the expulsion and procedure, stating she wished to charge market rate for the home, which Musiy was the only Section 8 renter staying in the structure,

Musiy Musiy Rishin in his home in Alameda, California. Photo: Michael Short/The Guardian

“I’m not a beast,”stated Tam, who is based in Arizona.”I’m not a greedy property owner, however

I do wish to earn money when I’m lawfully able to. “

Asked why she pursued the expulsion while Yaroslav was passing away, she reacted, “Because someone’s ill, do you secure free lease? We need to do what we need to do.”

She stated she might remodel and make substantially more cash from his system, argued that she has no responsibility to keep him there, and that Musiy ought to go deal with his child:”It’s an unfortunate story. I can not assist him. “

“I have a great deal of senior customers, however I have actually never ever seen anything this outrageous,”stated Sarah McCracken, an occupants ‘rights attorney with Centro Legal de La Raza, who is representing Musiy.” It’s ridiculous and troubling. This guy is an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor … who has actually experienced all sort of injury. “

The household has actually likewise submitted an official discrimination problem with the state, declaring the property owners targeted a “low-income handicapped immigrant household”, and have actually informed the household” they do not belong in an elegant location and can go live elsewhere”. Tam rejected the discrimination accusations, stating she has other handicapped renters which the function of her expulsion is to” eliminate Section 8″and increase the leas.

The concept that he might eventually be dislodged of his house is abstruse to Musiy.” It is whatever to me. I have absolutely nothing else.”

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