Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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


My mother would chop wood so we can cook and heat the room with it. The wood was piled under the bed. So when my brother would go and steal the potatoes, my job was to pull out the chopped wood from under the bed. I wasn't doing it myself, I think my sister was helping. I'm not sure, I don't quite remember but I do remember that I was pulling it out mys...you know, from under the bed. When my brother would come in, he would take out the potatoes, we would put it in back of the wood and put back the wood neatly, so no one would see that this wood was moved or there was anything behind. Because we were afraid, what if the police would come to check? Eventually, they would discover that this particular area was gotten into, you see.

You lived--just your family lived in one room.

In one room, yes. But it was like a barrack long. The building was like a barrack, like you know, and divided in two rooms.

And did the police ever come and check your room?

They came and looked around.

They did do that.

Yes uh, my--I, I had a cousin--he actually died last year, I think, maybe before, in Israel. His name was Nair and he was very uh, artistic and he would draw eh, scenes from Siberia. And one day he and my brother they were uh, cutting out various things from wood and they managed to cut out like a, um, a rifle, you know, as a toy. You know, they were kids still. And it looked pretty nice, it looked beautiful. And so my brother hung it up on the wall. The police came around and they broke it to pieces. They made such a racket. They said, "You cannot do that." The first moment when they saw it they thought it was really a rifle, it was done so perfectly. And so they were just absolutely devastated to see something like this created by kids. They didn't even believe it was done by kids, you see. And they broke it to pieces. They would come around and check. They, they did not uh, you know, just uh, close their eyes. They kept their eyes open. Yes. And so, think so, you know what I think, they would get at, the potatoes from all the people


And maybe they needed to ship it, but they didn't. They would hide it in the ground, because the ground was warm.


They assumed it won't you know, but they were frozen. We never know why they did it. I'll have to ask my brother, maybe he knows. Or my sister.

Because earlier, earlier um, they did it to spite the government and the government then killed them for hiding the crop...


...for burying the crops.

I don't know why, maybe they, they did it for themselves and then they couldn't dispose of it or who knows why, I really don't know. But that's how, my brother would go out and steal these potatoes. I tell you, it, it was not bad. Yeah. Is this going?



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