Khrushchev's education in atheism went back a long way. As he described it, his mother and maternal grandfather had been religious, and he was brought up to kneel and pray. His favorite teacher in school was a revolutionary and an atheist, however, and she taught the boy Nikita well. The emphasis of the communist leadership from late 1957 through 1958 was principally on ideological work, especially among the youth, and on mobilizing and training antireligious forces. Persuasion and pressure on individual clerics resulted in the defection of some priests to the atheist cause, and these priests would play a great role in the propaganda campaign that was to come. The mass deregistrations of church societies in 1959 were concentrated in territories in Ukraine that had long been Soviet-ruled, were traditionally Orthodox, and had been subjected to extended German occupation in World War II.