Can you tell us more about your "Austrian" grandpa? When did your family figure out that he was a Russian Jew? Was he fleeing the tsarist draft?
I’m not sure if he was fleeing the Tsarists specifically, or Russia in general.
GG had suspected he wasn’t actually Austrian, mostly from the heavy Russian accent and the fact that he barely knew anything about Austria. He had some kind of crisis of faith prior to meeting her and was always uncomfortable discussing matters of faith. Which kind of worked out fine for GG, because being a third generation agnostic was hard in the nineteen teens.
But, when a guy never eats pork “out of habit” you get an idea.
As he got on in years, he started developing dementia. He gradually lost his ability to speak English, So he started speaking German, then he started to lose that and spoke only Russian at the very end. Mom still knows a smattering of both languages form communicating
He also lost the ability distinguish what happened on TV from what happened IRL and started doing things like thinking he had lunch with the Queen of England because she was on TV while he was eating.
This sounds really tragic but Grandpa Adam quickly realized that he was losing it, and decided that it meant he didn’t have to deal with anyone else’s nonsense anymore. Also, since he was retired and could stay at home, there wasn’t much issue in indulging him.
So mom would come home from school and ask grandpa what he did that day, and would listen to how he had a political discussion with Mr. Gorbachev. Grandpa Adam had trouble with reality but DAMN if he didn’t have some great diplomatic ideas about how to end the cold war.