Google co-founder Sergey Brin says that anti-Semitism forced his family to emigrate to the United States in 1979 when he was a child.
In an interview with the Israeli financial publication, TheMarker.com, Brin described the job discrimination which both his parents encountered in the Soviet academic field. (Here's the full interview in Hebrew, and part of it in English.)
Brin was in Israel to visit the local Google office, as well as to take part in a conference organized by Israel's president, Shimon Peres. The following are excerpts from the interview:
Without a doubt the great suffering put on my parents in Russia because of anti-Semitism was the primary reason that they left Russia. And that has had a major influence on my life.
My family had many challenges in Russia. My father wasn't able to work in his chosen field. Everything we had in Russia, we had to leave behind and start from scratch. This gave me a different perspective on life.
You know, we learned to make do without anything. To live on nothing. And this certainly influenced me.
When you're a Jew, you have a background of hardship, suffering, difficulties--and to turn that into success is part of the Jewish experience.
Brin was born in Moscow in 1973. His father, Mikhail, was prevented from realizing his ambition to become an astronomer because the Communist Party, which then was in power, prevented Jews from entering the physics department. Brin's father subsequently worked as an economic planner after receiving his Ph.D. Brin's mother, Evgenya, was employed as a researcher by the Soviet gas and oil institute.