Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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


How long were you on the river?

We--I think we about two week, maybe ten days. Yeah, it was a long trip.

What did you do for food?

Uh, we would stop. My mom would buy fish from the uh, natives, from the people that lived there. Um.

Cooked fish?

My mom cooked fish, she, she fried it. Uh, for Rosh Hashanah she made gefilte fish. Matter of fact, she made gefilte fish and my, my sister and my cousins went to the large raft and brought gefilte fish for my grandma for Yontif, for the holiday.

Let me, let me ask you this. You're under the most primitive of circumstance. I assu...I assume if you tied the raft up at night, you collected wood and made a fire.

Oh yeah, we collected always wood so we would have it.

And your mother made gefilte fish?

Yeah. She pulled out the chopping board and the chopping knife. And she baked a little matzoh on top of the stove because you can't make gefilte fish if you don't have a little bit of matzoh meal. And she bought fish and she cleaned it and. You know, here you make uh, gefilte fish it's like balls, right. You make a...


Because it's all the meat, right. And in Europe you didn't do that. You took out the meat from the bone and the skin and then you filled it in back, so nothing would go to waste, you see.


Mm-hm. She made it there, it was delicious. And you know what, I will never forget that she even put on each slice of fish a little carrot on the top so it looked pretty.

Do you make gefilte fish?

Yeah, I make good ones. Ask my son about , about my gefilte fish.

I will.

Ask him. You'll see what he'll say.

And when you make gefilte fish, is that a memory?

Um, when we eat it sometimes we'll think about it, I'll think about it. We talk about it you know, and we'll say "Remember mom's gefilte fish?" Yeah. They were very good. The fish was very good because it comes from a lake and...

Fresh fish.

Fresh fish. Yeah, the fish was good. She would buy ???.

What kind of fish was it?

Um, I don't remember what kind of fish. Maybe pike, maybe.


Uh, no, I don't think it was carp. I don't think so. I'm not sure, but I don't think so. Yeah, but they were very large fish, very large.

Who would catch the fish?

Uh, the Russians that live along the river.

And then you'd buy the fish from the Russians.

And we'd buy it from them, yeah, yeah.

I see.

We didn't know how to catch.

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