a1 Department of Mathematics, Leningrad University, USSR
Vladimir Abramovich Rokhlin was born on 23 August 1919 in Baku (Azerbaijan). His parents, Abram Beniaminovich Rokhlin and Henrietta Emmanuilovna Levenson, came from Jewish families, who lived in the Ukraine and in Byelorussia and then moved to Baku. Rokhlin's mother was the sister of the well-known literary figure and children's writer Kornei Chukovsky; Rokhlin's grandmother, Klara Levenson, was one of the first women doctors in Russia. Rokhlin's mother graduated from a medical school in France and was a doctor in Baku. She died tragically in 1923. His father was a broadly educated man and took an active part in political activity before the revolution (he was a social democrat) and in the early years of the revolution. Later he was involved in administrative work in Baku, in the Ukraine, in Central Asia and in Moscow. Not surprisingly he did not escape the Stalinist repressions: in 1939 he was arrested and on 13.7.1941 was sentenced to be shot. In 1957 his relatives received a certificate of rehabilitation (‘the case is closed due to insufficient evidence’); it is clear from this certificate that it was still impossible to obtain reliable information about the last years of his life; in particular even the exact date of his death is not precisely established. Rokhlin's family was exiled to Siberia and remained there. Fortunately Rokhlin, who was at that time a student at the University of Moscow, escaped with comparatively minor unpleasantnesses, and was not expelled from the University.