Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Journey to Asino

Did you leave at night?

We left in the evening. Uh, we--it must have been about maybe eleven o'clock at night, ten thirty maybe. Uh, as soon as the moon came out uh, we left. I remember it was very cold and slippery going down. The trees were very tall. And um, it was kind of frightening actually.

I'll bet it was.

Yeah. I remember that. It was kind of frightening because it was very slippery going down and you go down on this raft that you don't know, you know, and it's a little shaky.

Could you swim?

No, I don't know how to swim until today.

Could your mother swim?


None of you could swim.

Uh, I think only my cousin Pinhaus, or Mayer or both of them.

And you went on a raft in the river...


with nobody knowing how to swim.

No life savers.

Oh sheesh.

No life jackets. And so then, we got on that raft and uh, we went down the river. Uh, we floated a whole night actually. That was the, the only time we, we were on the river during the night.

And in the morning?

We kept on going.

So you didn't pull off to the side. I mean, I asked you this last time.

Yeah, we, we, we would, we would travel a whole day and hook up at night in the evening, because we had a bad experience uh, uh. We were going down the river and it shows you, if there is danger it shows you a red buoy. And if it's safe it's wide. Well, that particular time it was, like um, um, about maybe five-thirty, six o'clock and it was already like darkish outside and uh, my mom says, "Let's stop," and uh, everybody said, "Oh let's go another hour or so." My mom says, "You're going the wrong direction, I see a red buoy." And everybody said, "No, no, it's okay." Well we wound up in a terrible mess. It was a water that was boiling constantly. Um, the, the red buoy was...


...uh, showing you that there is danger. But they didn't listen. The guys, the kids, you know...


...the young people didn't listen.

So how did you get through it?

So we wound up on that rapid water you know, it's like, never stops.


And it almost tore us apart. The fear was terrible, I mean, it was just and, uh...

But nobody, you didn't lose anybody?

No, we didn't lose anyone, but it was very frightening because it was going around and around and around. Uh, finally, finally it, we got caught on something and it stopped. And we were, we were there all night standing like this. And in the morning we realized that um, we were--we got caught on a dead tree trunk.

The raft got caught.

Yes, the raft got caught. And that's how we stopped. The water was still going.

So how did you get free?

Well, what we did is we had to take off all the belongings and put it on the...




And then, we had to pull off that raft, off of that trunk--tree. It was some experience. It was very difficult.

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