Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Manya Auster Feldman - August 11, 1998


My name is Manya Feldman. I come from Dombrovitsa, in, in Poland.

And your maiden name?

My maiden name was Bauman.

And Dombrovitsa is uh, near what other major cities?

It's actually the, the, the, eastern part of Poland. It's not far from the Russian border, before 1939. It's around uh, Rovno, Sarny, the--Lwów, Pinsk, in that area.

We'll look at a map later.

Okay, uh-huh.

Maybe we can identify some of it. Tell me a little bit about Dombrovitsa before 1939. What do you remember before the war?

Oh, yes. I remember a lot, because I was born in 1923. So uh, actually, my youth I spent in Dombrovitsa. It was a very small town. It was--the general population was about 5,000 of which 3,000 were Jews. Uh, it was very pic--picturesque. There was a river flowing down and the town was situated on a--sort of like a mountain. Uh, we had five synagogues. And um, the, the, the religious setup was Orthodox. Everybody was Orthodox. We were uh, five children, four sisters and a brother and my parents. And uh, we had a very huge family, about uh, close to 200. My father had five brothers. My, my mother had uh, uh, about three sisters and a brother.

They all lived in Dombrovitsa?

My mother's family didn't live in Dombrovitsa. She comes from a town named David Gorodok. But my father's brothers, all of them except for one, lived in--each one, each family had about five children.

So how, how large of an extended family, of first cousins, grandparents, grandparents?

Oh, for--I--between around 150, something like this.

And do you have any idea how many survived the war?

Just three of us survived the war. It's three uh, from three brothers, we are first cousins. Um, two of them lived in Israel. They're not alive anymore and I'm the only one now.

So your four siblings were all...

Yes, they were all killed, uh-huh.

You said that there were five synagogues. Um, why, why five?

Uh, because every synagogue had every uh, uh, every um, group of Jews that belonged to that particular synagogue were Hasidim, you know. And they belonged--and they were following their own rabbi. So each synagogue represented a different group of Hasidim.

Do you remember which--who the rabbis were?

Uh, I remember uh, uh, um, uh, a dynasty of rabbis who came from the city of Stolin. And there were, they were, the, they, the family, they had some rabbis, some of the brothers were called Stoliner Hasidim and some were called the Karliner. And it's interesting, my father was a Stoliner Hasid and my uncle, his brother, was a Karliner Hasid. They always used to have practically fight discussing my rabbi is better than your rabbi, you know, this sort of thing.

The Karliner Rabbi is from what city?

Also from Stolin. They were, they were a few brothers that were, that were a dynasty of rabbis.

What is Karlin?

Karlin is also a city near, near Stolin.

So there was...

One was from Karlin and one was from Stolin.

C-a-r-l-i-n is it?

Karlin is K-a-r-l-i-n. And Stolin is S-t-o-l-i-n.

So you came from a religious family?

Oh, yes. We were all religious. Ah, I think that the population, I'm going to talk about my little shtetl--that ninety-five percent were extremely religious. Although my father wasn't um, didn't have a beard and, and uh and uh, payes but uh, he observed--three times a day was daven and we observed all the holidays and everything.

And he wore tztizes and all?

No, he didn't. He, he wore tztizes but inside, he didn't wear them outwardly. He was a modern Jew, but he prayed. He was very observant. We all did.

So describe for me the shtetl a little bit.


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