Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Conditions in DP Camp

And an inside bathroom.

And an inside bathroom.

For twenty-three people.

Well, it was down the hall, it wasn't in the room, but it doesn't matter. There was a lot of other people for that bathroom and shower. But you could go and take a shower, which I've never had it before. It was a wonderful thing. And uh, there was a school, they set up a school, they taught us Hebrew. Uh, there was an organization, Hanoratsiwani, which is the Young Zionists. Uh, they taught us about Israel, we learned songs and dances. There was a madriha, which is a uh, what do you call a madriha--a supervisor or a, a direct...director that teaches you. Um, I went to school there. Uh, I learned right away--we--they started teaching Hebrew, the aleph bet. And we started uh, to learn math and geography about Israel. It was a much more normal life. We had food to eat, uh. The HIAS or the UNRRA sent us clothes. I received a little package from an American child and in it there was a little mezuzah. I still have it someplace. A strand of pearls that I still wear. Not real pearls uh, costume jewelry, but it doesn't matter.


Interesting enough, it was from Czechoslovakia, the little clasp says so.

But the package came from somewhere in...

From the United States. It had marbles that I never saw before in my life. And it was a terri...and this treat, I mean, you know. Peanut butter that we didn't know what it was and we didn't know how to eat it. My dad started working. I learned how to speak German. Uh, you would go downtown to shop for little knick-knacks. You took the tram, the tramwaj you know, it was like a street car.

Street car.


And did you only speak Hebrew?

No, we spoke Yiddish at home. We spoke Hebrew in class.

In school.

In school, yes. I made friends. Um, down the hall--no, across from our room there was a family there, a mother with three children. Uh, two boys and a girl, Yiheskel, Malkale and Yaakov. Unfortunately, Yaakov just passed away in Israel. Malkale is still my friend. She lives in Israel. I met her in '47, the beginning. She my dear friend. Um, I made friends. Uh, it was wonderful, you know. These were two beautiful years, because I suddenly realized that uh, you can make friends. Uh, you can play outdoors, I learned how to ride a bike. Uh, you can go downtown. You can go to movies, you know.

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