Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

Religious Instruction

Was there a rabbi...


who came?

No, no.

So you didn't have religious instruction.

No. We didn't have--just private. You know, the boys had teachers, Hebrew teachers. And we learned Ale...only Aleph Bet and how to put together reading and we learned our self to read. All we knew what we are Jewish and we have to keep uh, a Jewish life. And when we come here to America, my husband did the same thing with his girls. He says, "Did you went to Hebrew school and you know how to read and everything? W...why should sent them to He...," we couldn't afford it to send them to Hebrew school here. So he sent my oldest daughter to yeshiva and this had a big impact on her, when she went to the yeshiva because she become kinda religious. And we had--so I say to my husband, "Go tell him that we can't pay that much." So he says, "If everybody will go ask him not to pay, who will pay the teachers?" And he took her out and he put her in uh, Workman's Circle. It's a big difference you know, a communist place. And they was teaching Jewish.

Yiddish, yeah.

Yeah. Would you like more?

No, thank you.

And uh, they was teaching Yiddish there. So, it was, my younger daughter I sent to Hebrew. And I, she didn't want to go why I was forcing her. She used to come home she says she missed the bus. And I say, "We are walking." We--I didn't have a car, we had just one car. So I took and I walked with her to Hebrew school. And then she saw why she can't do that, so she went, you know. But she always came home, "I missed the bus." "Why did you miss the bus? It's in front of the school." "I missed it." So I say, "You won't miss it because we're going." And I give her something to eat and we're going to school. And she was a very good learner, she learned. She, she was so particular in school. She had all A's. Very--you know, in Hebrew school too. If, if she didn't have a Aleph. If she--once she had a Gimel, boy, she was going, she was going crazy because it's like a ???. She was going crazy that I should correct it because she added together that she didn't deserve a Gimel. She maybe uh, deserved a Aleph minus or so, but not a Gimel. And that time the teacher told me, "You should look in, take her to a psychiatrist because she is very aggressive. We have to change her mark otherwise she's hysteric in school. She doesn't leave the school so long we don't change it." So, the same thing, she was in school too. She added together her work, she was, she was smart. She added together and if she didn't have a A or a A minus, she was fighting for it. And she was always right and she give me a lot of trouble when she was growing up.

But there was no yeshiva in Novo...Nowosielica when you were growing up.

No, there was no... They just hired a teacher and brought 'em over and the boys was going.

Where was the nearest yeshiva? Wasn't there one in ...

The yeshivas was like...

In Ungvar?

uh, in Ungvar in you know, in the big cities. In Berezny, in Berezny, yeah, yeah.

But there wasn't.

In Berezny. That's where Ralph was going to the yeshiva and he was really very frum, and the whole family was very frum you know, his family. And uh, everybody was frum, except one sister, you know.

Now when you got married, you lived with your parents still? Or did you...

No, we lived in Berezny, you know. And uh, we rented a little house. We lived there, but when they took away my husband for forced labor. So I couldn't stay alone because the soldiers was coming knocking on my windows and so on. Uh, Hungarian soldiers. Because we lived like beginning of the town. And uh, so, my mother came and she took--they packed everything...

And you went back home.

and they, I went home. But at home was no place, you know. We had just two rooms and a kitchen. That's all we had, so.

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