Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

Finding Family After War

Yeah. So I come to uh, to Jerusalem and there is a postcard. He didn't know my second name or to who I married, so he put Leah Moskovitch. And he put I should call on the phone number and so in Haifa. So my husband goes down in the morning and uh, and there by the desk they call my husband. And they say "What is uh, your wife's name, the Hebrew name?" He said, "Leah." "What her maiden name?" "Moskovitch." "Oh she had a postcard." See, they found it!


And here in America, if they would have tried New York and send it to there, they, they would have got my mail. So my cousins when they sent to me then I start writing to them, but they was not rushing to take us out here. They was talking us out. But then finally they sent us affidavits, and by the time they sent us affidavits, my daugh...uh, mein uh, sister was going with a Gentile guy. The Jews did not accept us in uh, Sweden. Not--they wasn't very friendly to us. They was afraid they--some of them was homely looking Jews. Dark hair, with big noses. They come, ??? from Russia and they didn't like us. So uh, they never invited us to their houses or so. One Yom Kippur--I never forget--I was living in S...with a aristocrat family, very nice family. I was the maid in the house. And uh, they send me to school to learn how to wait on tables, how--you know, etiquette, you have to--you bow and you go after while you are ??? and so on and show people. He had a concert house, so show people was coming to the house. So they sent me to school with their daughters. And uh, so one Yom Kippur I told her, "I'm not coming home, I'm going to the temple and I'm not coming home." So I didn't go to the big temple, I went to a Orthodox little temple. The woman was upstairs and they give me a prayer book. And I cried myself there. I was hungry because I ate something in the evening. And it was already late in the evening and I was thinking, maybe somebody will invite me to the house to break the fast. I don't know why I was fasting, I fasted plenty. So I was thinking, well, I have to fast. So from there I walked in the evening home, I thought I faint already, I couldn't walk. If I would have called them they would have come in the car picked me up. But I just walked, and I--they lived on the third floor and I walked up somehow to the house and I thought I'd collapse. And she maked me a table and I should be. She gives me and she gives me ham. So I told her I wouldn't eat that and uh, I want a scrambled eggs, some herring and thing like that. And she made me. And I was eating and tears falling to my plate. And she couldn't understand that because she never mingled with Jewish people. They didn't know nothing, they weren't Jews. So, so I told her it was a very big day and I fasted and I saw all these Jewish people there and they didn't invite me to their house and break the fast. And ham I wouldn't eat, I do--I say, special, Yom Kippur--I say I wouldn't eat. She didn't know it was Yom Kippur. And she was just talking, she was a very nice lady. She was just talking to me like to a child. And she says, "Look, this is today, what happened, you were so religious, but you're here with us and you, you behave like we do and that's it. You can keep your religion, but you behave the way we will. We have Christmas and so." So Christmas, you know. They brought out--my husband came home in '47. He come home from Russia, he didn't know nothing what happened to the Jewish people. Just when he come to Ungvar and he found out. And there in Ungvar they told him, told him that I am living. So he come to Milhostov, Czechoslovakia and he found my cousin. He wanted to marry her, he wa...was in love with my cousin. But she was married already. And she did a-- she's billionaire.

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