Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Father's Imprisonment

Your father was in prison, that must have affected the way your family...

Yeah, my daddy's in prison and we are alone and my mom works very hard, but she is a terrific trooper because uh, she's got strength. And we're hungry, she tries very hard to make sure we have enough food. Uh, at one point she gave up her portion of bread because my brother Harry was a teenager and he needed a little more bread, so she would divide the bread between me, my sister and my brother and she would eat--at work they would give you a bowl of soup. And in the stores they would have, they would sell chunks of um, dried--it wasn't the food, it was, you know when you dry apple you take out the core and the seeds. So they would take the core and the seeds and combine it, press it together and dry it. And that's what she would eat. It cut your throat to pieces. But that's what she would eat and give us her bread.

But it was nourishment.

It was nourishment because it had sugar in it. Um, she would go, she would walk to work. I think it was like maybe four, five kilometers, I don't know, every morning.

Where did she work?

She worked by the river.

Oh, I see, right by the river.


Still worked--that was her only job was to do this.

This was her job all the time while she was in Siberia, except while she sick. They gave her that nursery...

Right, right.

...job. That's why actually they gave her the job, because she was just recuperating, so they had her work in that nursery or day care whatever you want to call it. And she walks everyday. Gets up at four-thirty, five o'clock in the morning. It's so cold. Terrible. She had a red shawl, she would wrap up in the red shawl. When she would come home, she would have icicles down her eyelashes. I would remove her icicles from her eyelashes.

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