Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Plans to Leave Poland

Your father had heard.

Yeah, that's when you know, we heard that there is a way, that someday we'll have a la...a land to go to, a country to go to. And uh, that um, it's a good idea to get organized and with this particular group. So this was a uh, a uh, man that came from Israel and he was organizing the Jews in Chelm to continue on their way and aim to get to Israel.

Okay, so he--were there meetings, did you...

Yes, I think my dad was going to various meetings. And uh, he was telling us that you have to be ready on a very short notice. Because they never know when they'll be able to transport the Jews. It has to be illegally done, you see.

Because you couldn't get out.

You couldn't get out, you couldn't cross borders, you had to cross borders. So it had to be illegally done. So we were told that the first thing we have to do is get rid of all addresses. Anything that had, like, pictures that had like uh, postmarks uh, writing on, names. Everything had to be erased, just in case when we cross a border they wo...

So you went by foot.

Uh, we, we went by foot from Poland to Czechoslovakia. Um...

Where in Czechoslovakia?

??? the place was called. I don't know. I don't know where that, in Czechoslovakia. We went, I think we went from Poland to Czechoslovakia or Austria. No, it was Czechoslovakia. So eh, eh, one day um, he--my dad came and said we have to pack up and take only the essentials. We, we, we left everything. Matter of fact, we left our flatware in the bowl that we didn't have the time to wash it and take it. We took only the essentials and we went. Uh, we were put on trucks. No, we were on trains. We left on trains. Because I remember that we passed by this Jewish cemetery and my mom was waving goodbye because her mother was buried there. Of course, there was no uh, sign of it. But she knew that...

Had they knocked over the stones?

Yeah, they took out the stones and made sidewalks out of it. Uh, but she knew where her mom was buried you know, what cemetery. So she was waving goodbye to the cemetery. And we got to a certain point and there they transported us to trucks. The women and children, my dad, my sister and my brother Harry was--they were walking a whole night. And my, my sister's husband. Me and my mom and my brother Ray were on a truck. My mom picked up a, a--until today I can't believe we did that--she had packed up salami and bread in a, in a handbag, and so good stuff. And we got on the truck and we put it next to us, we didn't hold on to it. It fell out through the, you know how a truck is covered with a, um...


...tarp. And it wasn't tied tight enough, so that handbag with all this delicious salami and bread and all the good stuff fell out from there. And we never had it. We, we never ate that salami. I was very upset. But we, we um, came to the border in Poland and there was a, a certain part where we all walked through the border, to cross the border. And, of course, everybody was bribed there.

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