Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Immigration to Israel

And then to Italy, did you say?

Well, no. We went from Germany to France, and I was in Marseilles.


Then I boarded the Galila, the uh, ship and we traveled about ten days. I was very sick. And we went to Israel. I told you the story, I remember now.

Yes, you did, I remember now too.

Yeah, and then we went to--from there, we came to Israel in December. They were still bombarding Israel. We were in a absorption camp, we slept in a tent. We had family--my aunt and uncle lived in ??? which is a suburb of Tel Aviv and we stayed with them a few days. Um, it was wonderful to be together again. And then we went, from there they transferred us to Lut, which was a n...a newly occupied city.


It was an Arabic city, but the Israelis occupied it because it, actually you know, it was part of Israel once they divided Israel--the partition, you know uh, once they divide it, it belonged to, to Israel. Needless to say, the Arabs uh, didn't like it and they fought for their supposedly own land. Uh, but most of them ran away. There was a few that were left. Um, we lived in Lut, we got a, a one-room, no two-room dwelling with a big fence.

And there was one Arab who you kept--made friends with.

Oh yeah, and then I made friends with the little boy, he used to sell us oranges. They were very delicious. He would come to the door and knock on the door and sell us oranges.

And he saw you again.

Oh, years later. And interesting enough you see, there wasn't--times were very bad in those days in Israel but, so you didn't have what to eat actually, so oranges were an important part of our diet. We would have maybe a piece of the bread in the morning with an orange with a little margarine. I never had margarine before in my life, it was the first time I had margarine. Um, but you know, we tried to survive. We planted a little garden. There was no water, you had to carry water from the pump. It was very difficult. Um, my dad couldn't find a job, so he became a builder in Tel Aviv. He would travel everyday, basically. You know, he was a tailor, but he would travel to Tel Aviv to work as a builder. But um, we settled down. I went to school, finally I went to school. By now already I knew a little bit of Hebrew because I learned in Germany. The first thing they did they made a, they gathered all the children and started teaching them Hebrew. So now I come to Israel and I'm put in, in a much higher grade than I've ever been before because of my age. Uh, it was tough. But um, it was nice. I ha...you know, every morning I would get up and, and go to school, like a child should...

Should do.

...do, yes. You see, in, in, when we were in Russia if it was cold or too hot or, or, or my mom had to do something, I didn't go to school because it was, it was different. There were different demands. But in Israel it was different too. Um, we had a place to live in and my mom could go and do her shopping and uh, uh. My brother Ray, which is the youngest uh, he and I would go to school together. And uh, right away they set up a school with regular grades. And my teacher's name was Abraham ben Abraham. Nice name, Paul Gray, he was from Bulgaria, but he knew Hebrew very well. And uh, I made friends. Some of them are still my friends until today, um.

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