Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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


That was the Russian name.

Yes, Belovodsk.

And was Russian the primary language in...

Yes, everybody spoke Russian there. Uh, we lived on Komsomolskaya ???, which is Komsomolskaya is the name and the number is 96. And interesting enough, all the years we lived in that city, we lived on the same street. We moved from one place to the other but on the same street for some reason.

How many years did you live there?

We lived there from the end of '42, I think, until fif...'45. Three years. We left, we left Russia in 1945, right after the war. When war...

In those three years, what did you do?

Um, I went to a Polish school actually. It was my first experience with a school and uh, they taught me the alphabet. They taught me how to tell time. Um, they taught me songs, but it was all in Polish, not in Russian. Because I was a immigrant, so I, I was learning the Polish language actually.

Was there a Jewish school?

Uh, no.

Were there other Jews there?

Yes. We had, we had neighbors, Jewish neighbors. And we made friends, um.


Uh, I uh, yes, my dad organized services. They rented a room. Uh, not when we lived on 96. When we, we moved to another room down the street uh, I don't remember that number. We moved three times. We moved from 96 to 106 and then we moved kind of back in the middle of the street.

Were the places bigger each time you moved?

Uh, the first place was a long room like. It was very nice. Um, the people were very sweet to us. They were wealthy. They had a big yard with cows and they were, they were uh, farming in the backyard. They had cows and chickens and they would kill a, a hog and they would have it for like a few months. And on Sunday they would, they had a st...a oven that would face the outdoors to cook, a big oven. You see, in the summer it gets very hot there. The winter is very cold, but in the summer it gets very hot, so you cook outdoors instead of inside. And so the, the oven, that particular oven was facing outside. And they would bake delicious um, um, pierogi or, or whatever you want to call it, like, like uh, rolls stuffed with ham and whatever, meat. And it smelled delicious. They would always treat me.

So you, you ate this?

Yes, I ate it, because that was already the beginning, 1943. And in '43 people literally died of starvation in the street because there was nothing to eat.

In that town.

In that town, all over Russia. People very hungry. Forty-three was a terrible year. People were terribly hungry. And they were very sweet to, to us. And they would treat me--I was a little girl, I would sit outside, stare at them. You know, they didn't have much choice, they had to.

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