Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Trip to Kyrgyzstan

All right. Tell me about the trip from Asino to Kyrgyzstan.

Uh, once we got to the Asino, the government put us on trains and I was puzzled about the trains because I remember the train, but I don't remember how we got there. Uh, we got there by trucks and we were put on these trains. The trains were bringing back to Siberia German citizens that lived in Russia. When the war broke out between Russia and Germany, the Russian government arrested--did you...


The Germans and sent them to Siberia. And they were al...already um, prisoners of war that uh, wounded soldiers on that train. Um, transportation was absolutely impossible, I mean, it wasn't available. But this is the trains that they put us on.

Cattle trains?

Uh, no, those weren't cattle trains already.

Passenger trains.

I think so. So they brought in the Germans, they transported them into Siberia where we came out. And those were citizens. Those were Germans that...


Volksdeutschen. That were born in Germany but lived maybe in the Ukraines or in Russia or in White Russia. And they were arrested, rounded up and sent to Siberia. We got on that train, they would put us on that train, the government supplied that train and transported us to Srednia Asia, Central Asia.

Srednia Asia?

Srednia Asia.

Which is in Kyrgyzstan?


Tell me what you thought about it.

You know, that trip I only remember getting on the train, interesting enough. I do not remember the travel. It had to be quite awhile. I don't remember us eating or sleeping or being up. I don't remember that trip. Um, there are certain times in my life during the war that I absolutely don't remember. Like, I was talking to my sister and my brother, I says, "How did we get to Siberia?" And we were on a boat. It turns out from Asino into deep Siberia when we were going in, into Siberia it was only about a two--three day trip with a boat. It took us ten days, almost two weeks to get out of it. But with a boat it wasn't that long. So probably that's why. I don't remember anything about it. And this is how it happened with this train. I remember going into Siberia with the train, I don't remember coming out into Central Asia, into Kyrgyzstan with a train. Um, what I remember, my fir...first memory from that trip is being in a little room, I think it was early morning. Uh, it was very dark and very small. And we were laying like against the wall and in front of that room was a big stove, like. And this is what my first memory of Kyrgyzstan was, actually. Um, what happened was they transported us with a train, took us with a truck into a village of native people, which are called Kyrgyz people. And uh, their eyes are slight...slightly slanted. Uh, they speak their own language. And their life is so different from the other Russian people. Uh, they're dressed differently. Uh, they wear little caps on their heads, embroidered like. Uh, women wear braids. They sit on the floor. This is how they live. And that's it. Now it's 19...the end of 1942. And I, I wake up in this room and we, we are in this one little room. Um...

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