Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

News from Chelm

Did you have any idea what was going on in Chelm?

No, we didn't know anything. I don't, I don't remember anything. I don't remember my parents talking about it or anything like that.

Did you find out later?

Uh, I don't think we knew much about it, not until we came back.

When you came back you learned.

Yeah, in 1945. Only because, you see, we, I think we were burdened ourselves. We had--we needed to survive.


And I, I don't think that we knew in Russia that the Jews were slaughtered and, and, and, and exterminated. I don't think so.

So there was no word that slipped through into the east.

I don't think. I really don't think so.

And you were...

We knew that there is a terrible war...


...because we could see by the uh, casualties and we heard in the news, um. The Russians constantly um, uh, sent out the young pe...people to, to fight you know, and, and, and everybody was working towards uh, that particular area to help the soldiers and uh, you, you made clothes, you knit, you, you bake. Whatever you could do was uh, you know, to help the soldiers.

To help the Soviets.

So we knew that, yeah, that there was a terrible war. But I don't think we realized that they were exterminating Jews and, and, and uh, uh, uh, working towards the Final Solution.

In each of these three places, where did you stay?

Uh, with, when we were with my great uncle, we stayed in his house a little while. And the next thing...

This was in Lebivne?

In Lebivne, yes.

Lebivne. But where in Opalin?

In Opalin, I don't remember where we stayed. In Giesen I remember that I, I think my father rented a room. Uh, we stayed in this one room, the whole family. My grandma was then with us, my daddy's mother. And um, when we started towards Poland again, going back, we stayed in, mostly in little ???, which are little uh, synagogues. In Europe there were tiny little synagogues.


Shtiebelekh, yes, that's where we would stay. Uh...

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