Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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


So your mother asked for something to do.


And they put her in a nursery, was that what...

A nursery. Uh, which was very nice because it was uh, warm and not a, a tough job for her. Uh, the good part about it was that there was food in the nursery. You see, the children had to be fed. So my mom took me with her, so I already had something to eat. And once she got acquainted with the people and, and used to them, and started talking a little bit, she became comfortable there. There were lots of kids and um, what happens is uh, mothers go to work there and the children are brought there in the morning. They're there a whole day. And they're fed their breakfast, lunch--I think they got dinner too, I'm not sure--but I remember breakfast and lunch. And the--they are put for a nap right there. So it's, like, a whole day event. Um, the people that worked there were people that, that lived there for many years. Some of them were born there. By the way, all these people that lived there were uh, prisoners at one time or another too. That's why they wound up there. They were sent out there because they were arrested for one reason or another. And uh, so they made their home there and they had their children and uh, you know. So they were established there and, and they knew the, the score of life there. They knew how to handle it and so forth.

Did you or your mother ever befriend any of these people?

Oh yes, absolutely. They were very nice people. Um, they were, actually they were kind and nice to us. Uh, they knew exactly how we felt. At one time, you know, they were in our shoes too, uh.

But they weren't Jews.

Most of them were not Jewish. There were Jews there too, but most of them weren't. And uh, they lived in uh--it's call izbushka, which is a house that is dug into the ground. And you go down with little steps into it. It's completely dark because it's warm, you see, it's warmer inside.

It's underground.

It's underground, yes.

Under the snow.

Under the snow, and it's warm there, it's warmer than on top. Uh, a lot of them lived like that.

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