Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Knowledge of War

So, but you said you heard nothing about the war. But had you heard about Stalingrad, in 1943? Anything about that?

Maybe they were talking about it, I don't remember.

Not as a child.

Yeah, not as....what I do remember is that a lot of people were very sad because they lost loved ones. This I do remember. Um, they would cry. They you know, there was a lot already, a lot of wounded would come back without arm or leg, this I remember. But I don't remember talking about these things. You know, I, I was a kid. My main objective was to find something to eat. In '43 for sure, because it, it was terrible. I mean everybody was starving. Um.

When these people came back maimed, did you ask anyone what that was about?

I don't think so, no, no, I don't think so. Uh, I knew that they got wounded in the war. I mean, everybody knew it's a terrible war.

Okay, so you knew about that.

Yes, everybody was, like, everybody was knitting. When we moved to the third place--no the second place. When we, we moved from 96 way down to, down the street, we moved to a little room that actually was a pig sty. Uh, the pigs were on one side and we moved to the other side of that particular little building. And um, you could go out from--there was a window. So if you wanted, if you didn't want to go out through the door, you could go out through the window, you see um. The pigs were on one side and we had this one little room on the other side. It was a tiny little room. I don't remember why we moved. I think they asked us to move from that first dwelling that we were.

They being civil authorities.

Uh, no, I think the owners wanted us to move for one reason or another. Maybe somebody came to visit that they needed a place for them or somebody move, maybe a relative moved there. I, I'm not sure, but they asked us to move. So we moved down the street. We couldn't find a, a place to live so we found this one tiny little room next to the pigs. And uh, my mom had a baby in, in 1943. My brother Ray was born there. He was born March the 18th. Um, and um, we didn't have any place to put him. My mom put him in a, in a little um, oh I don't remember how to say it in English--uh, you know, what do you, what do you feed pigs in? The, the...


A trough. So my mom asked the owners, could she have a trough. So they gave her an empty trough. We washed it and we put the baby inside. And he was outside, outdoors. The pigs were outdoors too. So guess what they did, they went to--they could smell the food. And they started chewing and I jumped out the window to grab my brother Ray, he was a tiny little baby. Was a--I'll never forget that, I mean, it's the biggest joke until today when we talk about it. Uh, it was a tiny little room. It was a tough place to live in, because it was very small. But the people were very sweet. And there was an old lady, a grandma. Everybody called her babushka, that's grandma in Russian. And uh, she would knit. She taught me how to knit. And everybody would knit socks for the soldiers. This is what I was trying to tell you.

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