Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Arrival in Israel

So ten days later?

We arrive into Haifa. And I can hear the songs. Uh, they're singing uh, "Hava Nagila," and all kind of beautiful Hebrew songs because we're arriving already to Israel. I don't remember whether we arrived at day or in the evening. I don't remember, but I remember it was a very exciting moment, very exciting moment. Um, we sang uh you know, the, the, the songs of "Sholem Aleichem" and "Hava Nagila" and um, ??? and the, the, the, the, the, the ocean is blue. I mean, all kind of beautiful songs and they greeted us very warmly and we are in Israel. It was very exciting. Very tough. Now comes the tough part.

What's the tough part?

Well, we're arriving, they're getting us off the boat and taking us to a absorption camp. And we wind up in a tent. And the first thing I remember is terrible crying at night, children crying. It turns out that it's not--like wailing, you know--it's not children, it's jackals. You know what jackals are? It's uh, hyenas. You know what uh, hyenas are? It's an animal. And when they talk to each other they make such a noise it sounds like a child...

Wailing, yeah.

Yeah, wailing like uh, children cry. And it's terrible you know. Well we didn't know about it. The next day we were told not to have food out. We should cover everything up because they can come right into the tent.

Did that ever happen?


Did that ever happen?

Oh yeah.

A hyena came right into the tent?

Yes, yes, it happened.

They're dangerous animals.

Of course! Yeah, I know that. But these hyenas were, we were in Pardes Hanna that's the name of the absorption camp. And we were in a tent and it's raining all right. 'Cause it's the rainy season. And it's cold and my aunt and uncle that we were together in Russia, they were in Italy and they went to Israel illegally and they were on the--they wound up in Cyprus. They were on the Exodus. And they came to Israel earlier than we did. Their children were in a kibbutz and they lived in Ramat Gan. So we let them know that we are here, we are in Israel now and it's a Friday and we take a bus and we're going to our family. And it's a big excitement. We got with the bus to ??? Haifa in uh, Ramat Gan. And I--we look, we got off the station. And my cousin Pinhaus came to greet us with a motorcycle. You know, we were very happy. I think we walked from there all the way to Ramat Gan where my aunt lived in a ???. A ??? is a building that is made from tin sheets. You know was tin is?

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