Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Sobel - September 8, 1998

Going to Tashkent

Any episodes in that trip stand out in your mind? Good, bad?

No, they don't.

Was it boring?

It was boring and there was a lot conversation and the people expressing a lot of excitement, how it's going to be in the warm climate. And I remember a lot of fantasizing how wonderful it's going to be. And I remember some people talking about the book, which I haven't read but heard about it, Tashkent - The City of Bread, implying that it, there's some wonderful thing that will happen in Tashkent, and Tashkent itself seemed such a mystery. Yeah.

You knew you were going to Tashkent.

We knew that somewhere in the area of Tashkent, yes. And uh, there was a lot of talk going, in this, in the train and people were talking about what will be, not so much about their lives in the past. There seemed to have been a tendency throughout the years of people not talking much about their past, not talking much about their lives before the war. Somewhere it was always focused to the future, what the future will be. And whether it was a future coming from Siberia uh, to a warm land and thereafter the future, how it's going to be after the war when all this is over.

So do you think that no one was anticipating returning to Poland?

Oh no, they all anticipated returning to Poland. And when I talk about the future, they referred the future in Poland.

In Poland.

Yes, they all talked about going to Poland. Very, very few Jews, as far as I knew among those that my parents knew, stayed in the Soviet Union. They all wanted to get out of there as fast as they could.

Did they think they were going to go back to their families?

They heard what was going on but no one envisioned, no one envisioned that there was that slaughter of Jews that occurred in reality. Everyone hoped that they would go back to their families, and everyone hoped that the family survived, whether they survived intact or not, but they survived. And no one was prepared for the realities they found once they got to Poland.

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