Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Esther Feldman Icikson - October 23 & 29, November 5 & 12, 2001

End of War

Um, okay, so how long were you in this town and what, what prompted you to leave? The war was over.

In Belovodsk, in Belovodsk we were from 1942 until 1945, May of 1945.

When the war ended. And you had decided immediately to go where?

Yeah, we wanted to go back home. And um, they didn't let us out. You see, in those days they wouldn't let people out of the, of Russia. But my daddy had connections and uh, he made the arrangements. I think I told you that story.

Yeah, tell me again.

Okay. And he uh, he made arrangements and they gave him permission to leave. They gave him like a passport to leave Russia. Due to health circumstances, they said. This was this doctor. My dad made him a suit right and with this gorgeous suit. He bribed all the, the uh, guys there, the, the police officer and he, he managed, he was very capable to do that. He would have a certain amount of fabric to make a c...certain amount of suits for the soldiers. Well, he could figure it out so closely that there was always a little bit left over. So he saved these fabrics and he would make a suit for this doctor and this officer and that one. And pretty soon everybody was you know, he was a very good tailor, chummy. And when time came where we, my dad really felt that this is the time. Now the war is over and it's time to go. He um, he talked to the doctor and the doctor gave him a note saying that my mom, due to health reasons, my mom has to leave, this climate does not agree with her, she's very sick and she has to go back home. And so we had permission and we packed up and we left.

Again, by train.

Yes, by train. It was very difficult to get on the train in those days. Um, we, we were prepared. My dad had sugar, my dad all kind of things to bribe the conductors. It was impossible. We wound up--I told you the story, I know I did--we wound up on, on the, on the train, between the trains, you know...

Between cars, yeah.

Between the cars we, we uh, got on the, on uh, everybody in a different spot and finally we got together in one of the cars. Um, my sister and I we found one car that there were only soldiers traveling. And uh, they took to us, I don't know why. They, they said, "Come on and sit here." And so my family wound up in that car and this is how we traveled, uh. We traveled quite a, a long time, we were going to Kharkov because my dad's brother and his family were there 'cause he actually was transported there. He was transferred because he was a builder and they needed him to build there a fac...uh, factory to make sugar from the beets, from the sugar beets. And so...

Sugar beets, again the beets.

Yeah. So, yeah, these beets were a good uh, item. Um, so they--the family wound up there and we figured while we're traveling we might as well stop there and see my aunt and uncle. And so that's what we did. And we traveled on the train until we got to Kharkov. It was very tough. Uh, we spent there maybe a week. My baby brother was very sick at the time actually. He had--I think he was malnourished. He didn't have enough vitamins, so he had these terrible boils on his legs. And um, the doctors where we lived didn't know what to do. So when we were with my aunt and uncle they--my aunt took my mother and my baby brother to the doctor and um, she suggested uh, if I'm not mistaken, I think she said that he needs some extra sugar. And to heal the boil she said to take large bandages, iron with a very hot iron and then wrap his legs with it.

So bandages and...

Plain bandages.


Iron them to a high point of...


...heat and wrap his legs with it. And so, and this healed his legs actually. But they were terrible boils he had. And um, that really helped him so, uh. We stayed a little longer because of that. And once he started feeling better we hopped on a train. And um.

And did you get back to Chelm?

Yes. I just remembered actually that, I think, you know what, I, I think, I don't want to repeat myself, I think I told you this story, because I think I told you already about Chelm.

But you got back.


Yeah, and I, I asked you who was there.

Yeah. I, I think I told you already because uh, I told you, I think we talked already about Chelm, remember I told you that I was very sick.

Yeah, yeah. I want to ask you again, had you heard about Kielce or other places where there were pogroms?

I don't remember anything about it.

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