Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

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

Religious Life in Belovodsk

What was Friday night like there?

It was nice. Uh, my daddy would come home. He would make Kiddush, he would bless the wine. Uh, we didn't have a lot of food but we were together. Um, uh, whatever my mom could put together she'd cook for the Sabbath. She would light candles. There was no candles actually, she'd cut a little potato and put a little wick in it, with a little oil if there was such a thing, but...

And did you sing Zemirot and...

Um, I don't remember my daddy singing, singing Zemirot during that time. I don't really remember. But we were there. And my dad organized a minyan, ten people to pray with. Later on I think they went into a room where they would pray. All the Jews, there was... It was a really long street, the Komsomolska, it was a very long street and there was a lot of Jews that lived there. And um, my daddy--we all befriended one another 'cause we needed one another. And um, come a holiday or Shabbat they would get together and pray. And we would celebrate our holiday as, as uh, you know, as a group. Sometimes we would get together and, we were together, we were, we were as a unit.

Were you wondering about the rest of your family?

Uh, well, we would talk, we would wonder. But I don't remember ever having any mail from them. Not in Kyrgyzstan, not at all. I don't really remember. Yeah.

And no rumors, you hadn't heard rumors yet.

No, there were no--well, the war was very intense and uh, what I do remember is off and on young men would come home maimed, without legs or arms. Those were the ones who were free to go home, that were uh, able to come home and they would tell stories how terrible the war was. But I don't remember them saying anything about the Jews being slaughtered. I really don't remember. Um, I think they were so preoccupied with their own war that maybe they didn't even notice it, or--it was not a subject that anyone was talking about at the time. I don't remember anyone saying that they're killing million of Jews. I don't remember that.

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