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Liliya Bregel

From Bloomingpedia

Liliya (Liusia) Bregel (November 24, 1924-November 29, 2009) was a twenty-five year resident of Bloomington and a former staff member at Indiana University. She was the wife of IU professor Yuri Bregel.

Early Life

Liliya was born Liliya Rosenberg in Moscow, Russia, to Frida and David Rosenberg. Her father was a construction engineer and her mother a physician. Both moved to Moscow from Bobruysk in Belarus after the Russian Revolution. During World War II her family was evacuated to Saratov on the Volga, and upon her return to Moscow she studied at Moscow State University (Historical Faculty, Oriental Department), from which she graduated in 1949. She worked at the same department as a secretary and then as a research assistant, until 1957, when she received a PhD for her thesis on the social history of Portuguese India in the 16th and 17th centuries. After that she became a member of the faculty, teaching the medieval and modern history of India. In 1954, while she was still a research assistant at the department, she married Yuri Bregel, who was then a student at the Oriental Department of the Historical Faculty, and in 1956 they had a son, Valeri (who died in 1964). In 1966 they had a daughter, Nataliya.

Emigration and move to Bloomington

In 1974 the family emigrated to Israel where Yuri Bregel taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. There, Liliya continued her scholarly work at the Truman Research Institute of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Ben Tzvi institute, working with Portuguese documents pertaining to the history of the Indian Jewish communities. She also worked as a librarian at the Bezalel School of Art and helped her elderly mother, and her in-laws who also followed the family to Israel. In 1981 the family emigrated again, to Bloomington, Indiana. They came to Bloomington for her husband's job at Indiana University, where he was a professor at the department of Uralic and Altaic Studies, which is now the Department of Central Eurasian Studies. She also started working at Indiana University, first as an instructor of Russian at the Slavic Workshop, and then as a research associate at the Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (RIFIAS) where she was instrumental in the preparation of the Bibliography of Islamic Central Asia. She was popular among students and colleagues in the department. Though she continued to work for many years, retiring in 2000 at the age of 75, she and her husband Yuri took time each year to travel, visiting national parks and takin trips to Europe.

Move to Massachusetts and Death

In 2005 Liliya and Yuri Bregel moved to the Boston area, where they could be close to their daughter and her family. The move was necessitated by Liliya's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, for which she was able to have surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. She enjoyed the next few years with her family, living across the street from her daughter and her grandchildren, she set up a new home and got settled in the Boston area, while keeping up with her many friends, relatives, colleagues and former graduate students she knew at IU through long phone conversations. She became ill again in 2009, grew weaker in the fall, and died on November 29th, 2009. She was buried at the Beth Israel Memorial Park in Waltham, Massachusetts, with a graveside service on Wednesday, December 2, 2009.

Her surving family members include her husband, her daughter, Nataliya (Natasha) Bregel, her son-in-law, Satish Pai, and two young grandchildren, Shanta and Arjun Pai, all of Somerville, Massachusetts.


"Today's death notices." The Herald-Times. December 7, 2009. <> (Accessed December 7, 2009)