Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Knowledge of Father

So where did I finish?

So they sent and asked for...

For my father's...

...clothes, okay.

...clothes, yes, so anyhow. So we found out my dad is alive, needless to say we were thrilled.

You think is a response to the letter that, that your mother wrote to Stalin?

Absolutely. Absolutely. Otherwise I don't think we would have ever found out that my dad is alive.

You don't think the letter came from Stalin?

No, but somebody intervened probably. Somebody received it and figured you know what, let's look into it. And so then uh, we were very thrilled. We hoped. I mean, if they asked for the clothes, then maybe daddy is alive.


Um, my--after my mom worked for awhile in that nursery school uh, it wasn't enough to, to support us. So she asked to go out to work. And um, she went to work by the river uh, cutting lumber and um, lending it into the water. They, they transported it down the river. So she worked there until, until we were liberated from Siberia actually, she worked there. She was a very good worker. They, they respected her very much because she, she was actually like a leader between the women. And she would walk to work. I, I think I told you.


She would walk to work everyday for five, six kilometers, I don't know how far. And it was very, very cold--God was it cold. And in the spring, when the water melted, the snow, when, when the snow melted, you needed a, a rowboat to go from one area to the other because the level of the water was so high. Um, I stayed home. I had, I had my grandma uh, my daddy's mother lived with us. And I stayed with her and the baby. And uh, and then, I think it was, I think it was in the middle of '41--1941 when the baby died. She was about a year old. And um, I stayed home. Um, the biggest problem was hunger. There was very little food to eat. [pause] My mother gave up her portion of bread for us children. And uh, she gave each of us a slice of bread. My brother Harry--he's my older brother, and my sister Cil, and a slice went to me. But my brother Harry was a teenager, he's growing and he was hungry. So we each took our own little breads and we hid it away. So one day he discovered where we kept our bread, and he took a bite of my sister's slice and a bite of mine. Well, we were very angry. So when my mom came from work we decided we have to have a meeting and she has to be the judge, you see. Um, whether this is right to do. And we had a whole, I mean, a, a whole procedures. It was like a courtroom. See she was sitting at the head of the table and each child told their own story. And um, there wasn't much she could say except she gave up--at that point, she gave up her slice of bread.

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