Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Samuel Biegun - February 13, 1983

Jews in Siberia

How you going to put this together?

Hmm?

Wife: He's going to take it out what's no good.

Uh, after the war started uh, a lot of people from the--there were orphanage homes which they had Jewish uh, instructors in them.

Teachers.

Teachers. They uh, they run away from the Germans, Ukrainian, or Kiev, Odessa and most of the people there so they came to our village. And there were people like, intelligent, you know, educated people and they came to a village, they didn't know how to uh, hold a shovel or, you know, work in the uh, on the farm collective. Big city, Kiev, ???, Odessa so the Russians hated them. They were anti-Semitic. They said that the Jews did not want to work, you know, they're lazy and this and that. And uh, so we said, "We are Jews too." They said, "No you're not, you're working, you're struggling, you seem like us." So uh, it was a big, uh...

So when these educated Jews came to your village, they, they didn't work?

They couldn't work because they were highly educated. They had uh, dormant uh, jobs, you know, offices. They never been on a farm.

So what did they do?

So they, I mean, they didn't do anything.

Wife: But isn't it then the time came the time start already to mix up with the farmers and do their share of the work?

No, they were during the war and then they went back.

How big was this village you were living in?

Roughly--I don't know if they have a few thousand people. It wasn't very, very big--very small, about two or three streets.

So when these Jews came, they were not liked in the village because they, they couldn't work.

They couldn't work any--they couldn't do anything.

They were too educated.

Too educated.

Were they uh, they were doctors and teachers and...

Teachers and uh, probably lawyer. They were high office people, you know, party people--communist party and somehow they uh, they survived there.

Why did they come to the village?

Because they run away from the war and they, they had no other place to be. Wherever they can find a place, you know, place them. I know how they got so far. And uh, most of the Ukrainian ki...children. That's all. I have to find the...

Wife: I'm going to do okay.

[interruption in interview]


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