Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Conditions in Kyrgyzstan

So what did you do on a typical day there?

Play. Uh, we were there a short time. Uh, watch the lady of the house make noodles on the floor. She would roll them out on the floor, everyday.

On the dirt floor.

On the dirt floor. She would put uh, like a sheet or something down on the floor, she would roll them out very thin, cut 'em and cook it in that little room where we were in that stove. It was a built-in kettle. And they would first cook the lamb, take out the lamb, put in the noodles, cook the noodles and they would take it out. Um, the men would get together and eat. The woman would be waiting on them. They ate with their hands still. They would eat the noodles and the meat with their hands and drink the gravy or the soup over there but from small bowls.

Did you join them?

Yes, they were very generous to us. They loved my brother. They called him ??? which means boy in their language. They did not have any children and they loved my brother. And they were very sweet to us, very kind. They would give us food, they would share with us. They were very nice to us.

What did your father do?

Uh, in that little village, we didn't do nothing actually. We were just kind of like roaming around, trying to figure out what to do. My dad was kind of uh, trying to figure out what to do. It wasn't the right place for us to be. Uh, we were there, I don't know how long, not very long, I don't think so.

But he didn't work there.

I don't remember him working, no. Maybe he went to somebody's house to do something, I don't remember. But they, the people were very kind and friendly. I, I really have very fond memories from that place because we weren't hungry there.

Tell me again how you kept uh, the place warm, what you used for the stove.

Oh uh, they--that's what they use. You know, when the cows go to pasture they do their business and it dries on the road. And then you pick it up and once it's dry and you use it as fuel.

And this was your job?

Um, in the village, no. But when we moved to uh, town, that was my job. Once we moved to town our life changed actually after a few weeks. Uh, I, I remember how my dad managed to, I don't remember, whether we were in a truck or a wagon, but we moved to a town, um. The name of the town was Belovodsk.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn