Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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



A portico. I don't know how you say that exactly. And so the rooms were very beautiful. It was a nice hotel, it was on Lubelska street, that's the s...the name of the street. And we had one big room. Now we live in this room and we have big bars on the doors. After dark you do not go out because you're afraid because they kill...


Jews on left and right. I mean you know, they...

In Chelm too.

In Chelm too. And you tried to be very careful. You never open the door after dark unless you know who it is. And so we're in the house most of the time in the evening. Uh, you go out during the day, you do your shopping. Meanwhile, Jews started coming back to look for relatives, for their belongings. People that lived in town, people that were born in Chelm and they found out that my, my father and mother are here, people that knew my parents, so. There was no place where to live, where to stay. So guess what? Our big room turns into a hotel like room. Everybody comes and stays with us. And uh, pretty soon, my dad is a very generous man. My mom cooks all the time, he works all the time, and everybody comes and visits and eats and drinks and goes away. And comes and visits and eats and goes away. And it's like a--really like a hotel. But um, my dad says, this is the time where you have to help one another. So people came, and, and they stayed for months with us, you know. There was a husband and wife. They stayed there for a very long time with us. And um, there was a little lady, her name was Gula, and she stayed with us. She was all alone. She was--she had a husband and children, they all died of starvation in Russia. And she came back and she knew my dad because she was a seamstress. She knew my father from before the war, so when she found out that my dad is there, she hooked up with us and she was with us all the time. Um, actually, she used to sleep with me in one bed because there was no room, you know. You shared, you shared really. So we are in Chelm now and we are very careful because they're killing Jews. And right across from our room, across the yard, there is a Jewish couple with a daughter. I have to tell you this story because it's very important. It made a, a tremendous impression on me because I remember it until today. There is a couple with a daughter, a husband, wife and a daughter. They survived in Chelm. There was a non-Jewish family that hid 'em out all during the war. They gave 'em everything they had. They were quite well off. And they gave 'em, whatever they had they gave it away so he would take care of them.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn