Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Murder in Chelm

Gave it to the non-Jew.

To the non-Jew. And they survived. And they live now in this same building where we live. And their daughter was I think, maybe seventeen or eighteen years old. And one evening the daughter went out with a Russian soldier to the movies. This non-Jew, the Gentile man would come often to visit these people. And when he came it was like a, a holiday. They would prepare a feast. And that particular night the daughter visited with them, with this man too. He--the--her mother cooked and prepared, they both had dinner, it was very lovely and beautiful and she went to the movies. And he stayed on and visited with them. And after awhile he took a axe and he chopped off the husband and the wife's heads.

The man who saved them?

Yes. And I still remember when they carried out the woman, I can see the top of her shoes. She had black shoes, pointy with laces. You know the high shoes that go up to the ankle, with laces, laced up. What happened was--the--his neighbors could see that he was very well-to-do. Before the war he was a poor man. He had nice clothes and maybe a diamond ring, whatever they gave him. And they asked him, "Where did you get all this stuff?" And so he confided in one of the neighbors that you know, he hid out this Jewish family and they gave him all this. And they said, "You stupid, what are you going to do now? You're going to leave it like this? They'll come back and they'll take everything away from you. You get rid of them." So he came and he killed them. Just chopped off their heads. And guess what? We were very poor. We didn't have anything. And my job was, after they, they took 'em out and they buried them. The man that was taking care of the daughter, they sent away the daughter immediately. They sent away the daughter out of Chelm because they were afraid that she is going to get killed. Because when she came home from the movies she found her parents dead. So they sent away her daughter, their daughter right away. My job was to go in through the window. You know, when it's a square building, suppose you go out for--through the back door of this one room that we lived. And you can go on the balcony all the way across--all, all around, you know. So I had to go through here, climb in through their window, open the back--the front door. Because the window you could go in, somehow, I don't remember why the window was open. And I opened the door, unlocked the door from the inside. And then we took out some chairs. And the chair was still bloody. So I took it back into our house and we washed it--I washed it with a brush. Because we didn't have anything. So there we had a chair. We brought in some stuff from that house. The man said, the man that was responsible for the daughter, or he was a relative, he says, "Take whatever you want until you leave," So...

What happened to the man?

I don't know. I don't remember the man at all. I don't know whether he was a Jew or not. I think he was a Jew, I don't remember.

I mean the man who killed the Jews, what happened to him?

Oh nothing!



He wasn't arrested, nothing.

No, nothing. Nothing. But I can still see her laced up shoes with the points out from the under the blanket and they covered on the stretcher. That was a terrible thing. At that point my parents decided, you know what, we can't stay very long here. So. But that was, this is a, a scene I'll never forget.

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