Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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


Do you still think that? Do you still have the same fear?

It's a--oh, I am very nervous about this whole uh, situation.

But is it the same as it was then, do you think?

Yeah, it was--that day? Yes. Just like, like, oh my God. War is here again!

Did you talk to anyone about it? Your children?

Oh, I talked to my daughter. I talked to my husband, You know, he's a Holocaust survivor. He had it worse than me because he, he survived by himself in concentration camp. Nothing compared to what I had. I had my mom, my dad, my sister, my brother. It's nothing to compare, you see.

You were a four-year-old in the midst of a war.


Starving most of the time.

Very, very, very, very hungry.

Cold. And nobody talked to you about anything.

No. You don't talk. Uh, actually, do you know that I never remember a thing on that train. When I think of it. I do remember that we got hot water, which is, in Russian it's called kipyatok. It comes from the engine that, from the boiler that runs the train, you see. It boils the water while the... And this is what they give you, hot boiling water.

Who, who gave you?

The Russians.

The Russians gave it to you.

The guys did.

Somebody didn't steal it from the boiler.

No, no, no. That, the guys that supervised the train. We didn't--we weren't alone. There were supervisors watching over us. Soldiers, or whatever they were.

Did people die on the train?

I don't remember. But it was very filthy. You had a little stove inside the, uh...

Inside the car?

...car. And a bucket for, for...

There was a bucket.

Yeah, for toilet.

Did anybody use it?

Oh you bet! What else could you use?

How long were you on the train?

I don't know, we might have been maybe two, three, maybe four weeks even. I'm not sure.

Four weeks.

Yeah! It was far away. We went all the way to, uh...


No uh, all the way--no, the city was called uh, oh my God, how--the city I always remember. It was the end of the train line. From there you can't travel anymore by train. And we took a boat to go across. The river's name is Chulym, this I remember.

So you were in, at this point, in Siberia already.

Yes. After that travel we were in Siberia. Let's see. Um.

Isn't it funny that um, after rescuing you, you were suddenly sent off to Siberia. You didn't--did you understand what was going on?

Uh, I knew that we, we were sent away for, for one reason or another. No one told me. I'm trying to remember the city. Uh, Asino, Asino.

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