Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

Getting Married

No, I brought him out. He went, was in Russia. And he didn't know what happened to the Jews, nothing. In, in '47 he--they let him go home. They begged him he should stay there, but he didn't want, he wanted to go home. He was thinking the parents there, everybody. Look, he come to Uzhgorod to the, in Carpathian mountains, the, the capitol. He come there, he found people and they told him that he has nobody. All the whole family is gone. And the guy knew me, and he says, "Your former girlfriend," because I used to date both boys. But my mother said "You marry the other guy, because he's religious and he will bring you the moon if he be able to." And it was like she said. Mother's know best. And uh, so he went to visit my cousin, to Michalovce. And uh, I had three cousins there. So he visited them. And he wanted to marry my cousin, that Lanka who lives now in Ottawa. But she was married already. So she give him the address from me. And he wrote to me. I have all the letters here what he wrote to me. And he uh, uh, wrote me, if I am not, don't have nobody, he's not married. And s...shikzal that we should get married.


Yeah, that we have to get married.

So he came to Sweden. What city were you living in?

Gottenberg. It was very hard to get him there, but I lived with a very big aristocrat family. And he didn't like I work in household. So he wanted I should go away. So I went away, left them. They brought him out and I left them, you know. And uh, it was stupid really. We would have had much better staying with them, because they would have got us an apartment and so. And so I went with that Sarah, we went to work, we worked in a textile factory. But I couldn't sew, you know. She was already working on piece, on piece you know, and I was just learning. I was sewing and I just couldn't stand to sit on that machine, and I wasn't making money, you know. So uh, we rented an apartment by a old maid. She had a big house and she give us a, a, a private room with a kitchen and, and we slept there. And went to work together, we ate together and everything. She was very ambitious that girl. And uh, then when my husband was coming already, all the girls were so jealous you know, because he was married already and I had from America a guy came to visit his uh, uh, sister and his uh, nephew. And I met them in, in American Consul. And he asked me how to, to get back to that city, outskirts of Gottenberg. So I say, "Come with me and uh, we waited together." I say, "You take the same streetcar and you keep on going and I will get off." But we beco...start talking and I knew his sister and his uh, nephew. They used to live with me by that family. And uh, so uh, he says, "Can I go off and go with you?" I say, "Come on." And I always, I had a lot of cakes. And uh, I maked him a tea and I bought him off. He, he wanted to stay with me already. So uh, but I didn't particularly like him, you know. So, he used to take me to the theater, but I had no clothes to wear to go to a theater, you know. And uh, I knew him one week only. And he was going to Czechoslovakia and he wanted I should go with him there and he will marry me, in Michalovce. So for some reason, I say to him," You know what? "You go and I will follow you." And you know, it was really something, bashert uh, that he left. Three days later I receive a picture of mein husband now and a letter from him and he says, if I'm alone he would like we should get together somehow. So and I was writing awful letters a...against the communists you know, from Sweden. So he burned the letters and then he wrote to me I shouldn't write this because they could arrest him. And I kept sending him packages, and I was so much in love over my head I couldn't sleep nights. I just was waiting he should come already. And one Yom Kippur night he came, you know. And we walked to the station and he come uh, I didn't recognize him, you know. And he was calm, put down his uh, he had uh, those uh, briefcases. And uh, this girl, this Sarah come with me too. So I say, "We can't walk back, we have to take a taxi." [interruption in interview]

So the three of you decided to walk back.

So we walked back, poor guy and I didn't give him to eat. He was so hungry you know, I was re...become religious already. Yom Kippur, I don't give him to eat. So the next day I wouldn't let him sleep that he should go with me to shul and I show him off for the girls there. And he was going through a bakery and his heart was going out he was so hungry. So I didn't give him to eat. He had to fast 'til the evening.

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