Donia Presler was born in 1929 born in Tulchyn. Her father was a musician. Her mother worked as a glazier. She had two sisters, one of whom died in the Pechera camp. She finished four years of Yiddish school. During the war, she was imprisoned in the Pechera camp for four years.

Other Interviews:

Passover Soup
Show Trial in the Camp
Inside the Camp
A Little House with a Dirt Floor
A Family Played the Fiddle
Avrum-Yosl the Glazier
"Christ has risen"
The Torgsin Store


Tulchyn, Ukraine

Homentashn on Shvues

""Homentashn on Shvues?!"" you might ask. But the triangular pastry is usually eaten on Purim! Indeed, Purim is the time to indulge in prune- or poppyseed-filled treats, but on Shvues, Donia Pressler's family in Tulchyn (Ukraine) would make a filling of dairy rice pudding for their homentashn.

The holiday of Shvues (Shavuoth, Shavuot, Shvies), the Festival of Weeks, commemorates G-d giving the Torah to the Jewish people on Mt. Sinai after the Exodus from Egypt. Because the holiday lacks any distinguishing commandments (like the eating of matse on Passover or the building of a suke on Sukes, for instance), it was often one of the first to be forgotten by acculturating and assimilating Jews. In the Former Soviet Union, those Jews who do remember observing the festival usually recall eating dairy foods on that day, a well-known custom among Ashkenazi, Syrian, Iraqi, and other Jews. And that's how it came to pass that Donia's family ate homentashn on Shvues -- they were special, dairy, rice pudding-filled homentashn.