Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Release of Father

So the Germans have invaded.

And my dad was in jail and they sentenced him to die. He was already in isolation. Except when the war broke out between Russia and Germany, there was an amnesty.

Amnesty, yeah.

And they let him go.

Did they...

They freed him.

Did they conscript him into the army?

No, no, they let him go. They said, "You can go." That's it. So he didn't, he couldn't come to us, but we needed to go to him. Except in those days there was no transportation to get out of Siberia. And they weren't interested to give you transportation because it was in their interest to have the people work there.

Trans-Siberian railroad was it?

No, there was no train there.

No train, okay.

No, only boats. And there was no boats. Everything was organized for the, for the war. But they needed the people, they, they were inter...I mean we were, now we were free to go because uh, we were arrested because they, they supposedly accused us that we were spies. Polish spies, you see. But now...

Not capitalists.

Not capitalists.

Just spies.

But now the war is over already, so they said, you can go--except they didn't give you any transportation. So they needed the people because they needed the lumber, you see. These people worked for nothing.

So you were, you were there until 1944.

No, no.

Liberation was in '44.

No, no we were there until--in Russia--but in Siberia we were there from only until 1941, beginning of '42, I think.

And then you left.

We, we left. But we needed, we needed to leave on our own. We didn't have transportation.

So what did you do?

Uh, my mom tried to get on a boat, so she took my dad's suits and watch, whatever valuables she had and she wanted to bribe the captain. It didn't work out.

The Russians.

Yeah, so my mom decided she ain't gonna die in Siberia and she decided to build a raft.

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