Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Sobel - September 8, 1998

Forced onto Collective Farm

What was it like, where did you arrive? When the train stopped, where, when you got off, where were you?

In a small, in a very, somewhere we went--no, we stopped in Samarkand, then they drove us by horse and buggy to this village where we ended up as a family.

They being?

As I said, there must have been some organized effort of distribution where people went, because it was not our choice where we were going. In Soviet Union--that's another thing--there was no freedom of movement, not just for the Jews, but for the Soviet citizens. For one to move, to relocate from a city to a city, they needed governmental permission, which was not given out easily. So the distribution was done by some governmental decision, who is sent where. And I know that it seems like for a whole day or more we were in that horse and buggy.

Were--was it Soviet soldiers, do you think?

Were the Soviet soldiers that were taking us, no.


Just some people, peasants. But I, but I'm pretty sure that it was governmentally organized, the distribution where the people go. That the decision, the general decision to free us meant that we might, that we are allowed to leave Siberia. But the question of where each person settled, I am pretty sure was not the choice of freedom.

So finally where did you wind up?

Uh, we wound up in a township, in a kolkhoz, means a uh, communal farm.

Collective farm, yeah.

In a collective farm which is called ???.

Can you spell it?

T...I'll spell it phonetically, T-a-i-s-h. And I got it from my older sister who remembers better than I, because I would not have remembered it.


???. Uh, was a communal farm and we, a few families were given one large room. And uh, this turned out to be a time of great starvation, the greatest that I remember. Uh, we would go into the fields after the peasants harvested to scoop up the lost pieces of grain, uh, you know, when--and they harvested manually and whatever. Not grain. What do you call this stalk when you have...


Wheat, wheat, uh...

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