Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Return to Chelm

And the townspeople in Chelm, were they friendly?

Um, uh, well when we got to Chelm... It was very dangerous in those days. And I know--I remember now I told you this story. I think we got as far as when [pause] we were already in Israel, I think. That, that's as far as I told you my story.

Yeah, that's true.


And at one point did somebody tell you to get off the train?

Well, we were, we were traveling and we stopped in this small place and we were waiting for a connection to Chelm and I don't know, my dad started talking to a man and befriended him. He was buying potatoes and this man said to him, "You know what, don't wait for this ex...special train that will take you to Chelm. As soon as you see a train just get on it because," he says uh, "they are planning here a massacre uh, on all the Jews that are waiting here to catch trains." And so we did and uh, he saved actually our lives. Um, things were very bad in Poland because um, a lot of--well, the, the surviving Jews that survived and, and uh, whether it was in Russia or in any other place, they were aiming all to go back home to see if somebody survived or somebody's left. And uh, the Pole--Polacks weren't so excited about it. They figured, you know what, uh...

They would reclaim their property.

Uh, yeah, they wanted to finish the, the Jews because they were afraid that if the Jews will come back they'll want their property back, their jewelry, their clothes, whatever. I don't think the Jews had that in mind. All they wanted to do is find their family. Needless to say they didn't find anyone. Yeah.

I think you had gotten to Cyprus.

I wasn't in Cyprus. I was in, I, I think I got as far as I told you, my story, as far as Israel. Because we, we went legally to Israel. We, we were in Ulm, in Germany...

Right, that's right, I remember.

...and we were waiting until they declared uh, Israel as a state, an inde...you know, a free state for the Jews. And that was in May, I think. Seems like May is a special month.

Nineteen forty-seven.



Forty-eight. And we left Germany in Dec...in, maybe in November and uh, in November, yeah. We, we got to Germany, I told you the story. We were, we were from Poland, we went to Czechoslovakia and we went to Austria.

And then to Ulm.

And then to Ulm. And by the way, I was talking to my brother, he said that um, ??? was in Czechoslovakia, I think he said. But in Austria we stayed in, in the Rothschild mansion. That's what he said.

In Vienna.

In, in Vienna, yeah. That's what he said. I didn't remember that. And, because these were very short stops. I, I knew, I remember I told you about, that in, in Austria we stayed just, like, maybe a day or two and we were transported, you know. They gathered all the people, all uh, the survivors and put them on trains and transported them. The idea was to bring them as close as possible and all together to Germany. That's where they had really the DP camps.

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