Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Memories of DP Camp

Still in the DP camp.

DP camp, yes it was a DP camp. Uh, uh, I would go to a bakery. My mom would make cookies, I would go down to bakery and put it in the oven and bake cookies. I learned to speak German. I spoke very well German actually with the Germans.

And there's plenty of food.

Plenty of food. My sister worked in the, in the knitting room. They were knitting, they were learning how to knit, just to occupy the people. Uh, I, I was actually, I went through surgery in Germany. I had uh, my tonsils out because I was very sick all the time. So I took out my tonsils. Um, um, they tried--in Germany they tried to send me away. Actually, they tried to organize all the children to send to um, Israel. And so they--my parents decided to let me go. I can't believe they did that. And my dad made me pretty pajamas with my initials on it and all kind of clothes. And one day they packed up all the kids and they sent me away.


To a--gee, I don't remember the name of the place.

Someplace else in Germany.

Someplace else in Germany, but I think it was the Russian zone, if I'm not mistaken.

Why did they send the children away?

Because they were gathering all the kids, assuming that they can send the children to Israel faster. Well, I'll tell you, I got there and I was so lonely and I was so heartbroken, I couldn't take it and I had to come home. And somebody came to visit and I gave this person a little note telling the person to go back and give it to my parents. And the little note said that if they don't come and pick me up I'm going to die. And my sister came and she, she stole me out of there. It wasn't easy.

You mean they were--it seems to... All these children who had been separated from their families and now they separated them again?

Yeah, they took all the kids, they gathered them, they were going to send them to Israel, illegally or legally, I'm not, I'm not sure. But that, that was the most uh, frightening thing in my life actually through all, through all that time. I just couldn't be away from my parents, I was very afraid. I was very nervous. And so my sister came. She got me. I don't know how she fetched me out of there. But I, I remember I had to go through a fence and through the, through the back door.

You escaped.

I escaped, yeah. My sister, my sister went out through the front supposedly because she came to visit. And I escaped through the back and she met me and I got on the train and we came back. I don't remember. I would have to talk to her about this. I don't remember.

But she didn't come with her husband.

No, she came by herself.

I see.

Yeah. And um, from that day on I didn't... My parents didn't send me away anymore, that was it!

So you're back in Ulm.

Uh, yeah, I'm back at home.

Back in Ulm.

In, in Ulm, yes, in, in the DP camp, yeah.

And then where from there did you go as a family?

Now we're in the DP camp and uh, it's '48 uh, I speak already a little Hebrew. I can read and write the language. I know a little math. I have friends. And it's really terrific you know, I mean. And uh, we--my brother Harry--no. They're--and we have a country now. It's '48.

The war is over.

War? No.

War of Independence.



It's '48 and they just proclaimed the state of Israel.

So it's May.

May. And we dance a whole night. And we are very happy. Now we can go to Israel. And that was some night. I mean, from the youngest to the oldest, no one slept the whole night. It was such an excitement. And a few... This is May, in the fall my brother Harry is, I think, seventeen and they're getting all the young men to take 'em to Israel. Now it's already legal and they need boys, men. And he is going to Israel to fight for Israel. Uh, how my parents let him go, I'll never understand. But they did. You know, it was such a... You know how everybody's patriotic right now in the United States? This is how we felt. Everybody was very enthused and motivated to doing the best and the most for I... And...

But you let him go, they let him go alone.

Alone, yes! And all the young men were organized and taken by truck. And we were running after...

[interruption in interview]

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