Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Manya Auster Feldman - August 11, 1998


Is--was there any Zionist movement in your...

Oh, yes, a big Zionist movement. We belonged to organizations. And uh, our dream was to go to Israel. That was our dream.

Your parents too?

My--the parents in particular, sure. My father couldn't emigrate anyplace because he was an invalid. They wouldn't have let him in. But he said no matter what the circumstances, he's going to send away his children.

And did he think about Palestine?

Uh, a lot, yeah. We had people that were--that emigrate--that were emigrating in those days to Palestine. Although, some of them returned back and they said that the life was horrible. It was very hard. You know, they had to work the, the, the farm the land and, and fight with the Arabs. We had the all the way around.

Even then they were talking about fighting with the Arabs?

Well, they were fighting. Do you know Trumpeldor? The leader...


...of the Zionist movement? He was, he was--he had one arm and he was--and he--when he went out to work the, the land he had a rifle because they always had to, to be uh, in, in fights with the Arabs.

Did, did anybody in your family go? I mean, you had 150 in the family, did anybody make it?

Yeah. My cousin, the one that was in Israel, my older cousin, he came from a--they were uh, uh, very poor. So he decided rather than to stay in such circumstances, he went to a Kibbutz, which was in, in, in uh, around Vilna. And at that time, they could--it was already that they in 1940, so they could go through Japan, they went. A whole group of Zionists went to--through Japan, they went to Israel. And he was one of them.

And was this the Ha...Hashomer Ha-Tsa'ir?

That's right. Hashomwe Ha-Tsa'ir, Haluts, There was Betar, with the, the Revisionists. You know about that, yeah?

Well, tell me about the Revisionists.

Well, we belonged to Haluts. There were, there were Haluts. There were Shomer, there was Betat. There was uh, um, was the they w...the Mizra...the, the Mizrachis. Uh, yes. They were, they were the religious, uh, uh...


Yeah. They lived the religious part. They, they're motto was um, to work and to, to, to wait for God's help, whereas the, the--our Zionistic uh, organization was always um, in tune of working, working the land but also be on guard of having to fight the Arabs. And we were--we, we always had read literature and we--our spare time was spent in the day with the Zionist organization.

Were there meetings?

Meetings. There were meetings and talking about the Zionist movement and talking about the Palestine at that time that was called and, and instilling in the, in the children a Zionistic uh, uh, desire.


By talking, by reading literature, by singing songs, by, by--I was--I grew up with that from ever since I remember, we were singing songs about going uh, uh, um, settling in Israel in our own homeland.

Do you remember the songs?

Sure do. Bialyk wrote a lot of songs.

Sing me a song.

Sing you a song. Shalom Rav Shuvech Tziporim Nech Medet Meartzot Hacho Mel Chalonee. It's a song about a bird that is, that is on your windowsill and how she is going--she would be able to fly and go to Israel and be free and, and be there. Very, very patriotic songs.

Uh, you had a happy childhood?

Extremely happy.

Even though it was poor?

Extremely happy. We didn't have much but we had a family, we had our religion, we had our, had our organizations. We didn't, we didn't associate with anybody else. We were very happy children. As a matter of fact, I, I'd like to think because I, I had such a happy childhood that helped me to overcome the difficulty that I later uh, encountered. The--all of this came to an end. In 1939, Poland was divided into, into two, you know, one uh, one-half went to the Germans and the other half went to uh, Russia. So we were already under the Russian regime in '39.

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