Boris Dorfman lived in Chişinău until the beginning of the war. Both of his parents were imprisoned under Soviet occupation in 1940. He grew up with one sister, who was killed in the Chişinău ghetto. He attended religious school and then a Zionist primary school for four years, before he graduated from a Romanian secondary school. Soon after he finished a technical college to study construction, he was drafted into the Red Army. He spent the war years in the military, before he was sent off to Siberia as forced laborer. He worked as coachman until the war ended. He returned to Chişinău in 1946 and continued his studies. He worked as chief engineer at a factory for thirty-five years.
Interviews:"they didn't want to let me go"
Malka Altman grew up with three siblings and lived in Pervomaiscoe, Moldova, before the war. Her parents were also born in Bălţi (Belz). She never went through formal schooling and was trained as tailor. She spent the war years in evacuation. After the war, she worked at a fur factory and raised two children.
Interviews:The Shtefaneshter Rebbe
Frida Zak grew up with five siblings. She lost her grandmother during the Great Famine (Holodomor) in 1933. She attended a Yiddish school for ten years and then worked in a Jewish orphanage in Letychiv. During the war, she escaped to Miropol, where her family managed to get on the last local evacuation train to Central Asia. In evacuation, her father died of starvation in 1942. She returned to Polonne in 1944 and worked for two years in the same building, which became a Ukrainian orphanage during the war. Until her retirement in 1988, she worked in a library that she helped to set up.
Interviews:With the Last Train
When Peretz Markish Came to Polonne
Polina Lebvol grew up with seven siblings. She attended a Polish school in the mornings and then a religious girls' school in afternoons. She began working as seamstress at the age of 13. During the war, she evacuated to the Volgograd region where she worked on a kolkhoz. Her mother and four siblings were killed in Bălţi (Belz). After she returned to her hometown in 1945, she initially worked at the civilian registrar's office and then at a legal office.
Interviews:The Jewish House
Raisa Teplitskaia was born in 1931 in Ternivke. She grew up with two sisters and one brother. Her father was a blacksmith and her mother was a homemaker and raised pigs. She went to a Ukrainian school. She survived the war in hiding in a village. After the war, she returned to Ternivke, before settling in Uman in 1952. She has three sons, one of whom lives in Germany, and a daughter.
Interviews:Matzo Baking with Neighbors
Tsolik Groysman 's were also born in Tarashche. His father was a watchmaker and his mother was a homemaker. He grew up with two sisters. He went to a Yiddish school for seven years and then transferred to a Ukrainian school to complete ten grades. A month after the war broke out, he was drafted into the Red Army. He was injured twice in battle, once in Rostov and once in Stalingrad. Before the war, he had studied to become a dentist, but was unable to complete his studies after the war because of his injuries. After he was released from hospital in Tarashche, he took courses to become a massage therapist and started working in the hospital. He then moved to Almaty, where his uncle lived, and started working as a watchmaker, along with his uncle and father. He married a childhood friend from Tarashche and moved to Korsun-Shevchenkivskyy in 1952, where he worked again as a watchmaker.
Genrykh Zinger began a tailor apprenticeship at the age of 14 in his hometown Velykyi Bereznyi, then in Czechoslovakia. His father worked as tombstone carver, glazier and frame builder. He was drafted into the Czechoslovak army in 1936 and served for three years. During World War II, he was a forced laborer for the Hungarian army from 1940 to 1943. After the Red Army defeated the Hungarian army, Zinger was captured along with other POWs and sent to a gulag in Voronezh, Russia, where he worked as tailor. He returned to his hometown in 1946, but joined his sister in Uzhhorod soon after.
Interviews:From Hungarian to Russian Forced Labor
Communal Matzo Baking
Malke Snook 's father was a farmer. Before the war, she studied at a technical college. She also attended a religious school for three years. She was deported to Auschwitz during World War II. After the war, she raised a child that she was able to rescue from a woman about to be sent the crematory. She raised her son traditionally Jewish and made sure he would attend religious school.
A True "Khosid"
Perl Nayman 's father was a Cohen and worked as a blacksmith. She grew up with five brothers and one sister. She and her mother helped non-Jews work the fields with their horse during her childhood years. Her family owned a plot of land and animals. She listened in classes at a cheder in Turya-Bystra. She was deported to Auschwitz in April 1944. Afterward, she was forced to work at a metal factory and then to build trenches in Germany, before her liberation by the Red Army troops in May 1945. After the war, she lived in Studenyy for thirty years, before moving to Vynohradiv in 1978.
Interviews:"Let her pray"
Selection at Auschwitz
A Child Lost To The Evil Eye
Adolf Smajovics grew up with two brothers and one sister, as well as four half-siblings. He attended cheder at the age of four and began his education at a Czech school in Vynohradiv when he was six years old. His father was a field worker and died in 1926, as result of an accident with his horses. He began a blacksmith apprenticeship in 1939. Before he was a forced laborer for a Hungarian army battalion from 1942 until 1945, he worked as locksmith and blacksmith.
Interviews:A True "Khosid"
Dora Fiksler 's parents were born in Romania and owned animals, when she grew up. Her father was a construction worker. She grew up with six siblings and helped out with the animals in her free time. She attended a Hungarian school for eight years. During the war, she was initially deported to Auschwitz and then further to the Mauthausen concentration camp. There she worked at a factory until her liberation. After the war, she worked as shop assistant in a grocery store in Solotvyno.
Interviews:A Neolog Family
After The War
Yiddish and Hungarian
Hershel Vider grew up with three brothers. He attended cheder and spoke with his parents in Hungarian and with his grandparents in Yiddish. As an adolescent, he was involved in Zionist movements, such as Betar and Hashomer Hatzair. During the war, he was imprisoned in a Russian labor camp in Vorkuta,Russia, from which he was released in 1946. He was married in a traditional wedding in 1949.
Moyshe Nayman 's parents owned cattle and worked the land during his childhood. He grew up with four siblings and helped out his parents on the farm. His father and grandfather made kosher wine for the community. After he finished his cheder education, he attended a yeshiva in Korsun and then studied with Rabbi Chaim Elazar Spira in Mukacheve. During World War II, he was a forced laborer for a Hungarian labor battalion, before his deportation to the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. He was liberated from the Gunskirchen forced labor camp.
Interviews:Sleeping At Grandpa's
Childhood On A Farm
Vilk Hodinger grew up with five siblings, of whom three perished in Auschwitz. He attended cheder in Vynohradiv from the ages 6 to 15, as well as Czech and Hungarian schools. His father, who worked as laborer, was born in Ilnytsya and his mother came from Pryslip. During World War II, he survived the selection at Auschwitz, where he was deported from the Vynohradiv ghetto in May 1944. He was liberated from the Furstenfeldbruck forced labor camp, where he fixed airplanes for several months. Between 1949 and 1953, he served in the Soviet military. He worked odd jobs before his draft and then sold ice-cream for thirty years.
Interviews:A Few Pengos
"Hitler ate up our youth"
Veniamin Feldman grew up with three siblings. His father, a miller, hired a religious teacher during his childhood. His father was killed by bandits during the Civil War in 1919. Subsequently, he moved to Luhny and attended religious school from 1919 to 1923. As an adolescent, he worked as farmer for Christian families. He was married in 1930. During World War II, he served in the Red Army.
Raisa Turovskaia was educated at a Yiddish school for four years and later graduated from a Ukrainian school. During the war, she evacuated to a kolkhoz in the Shekhmanskii region. She and her family evacuated further to Siberia. She moved to Ovruch in 1944 and worked as History teacher later on.
Interviews:Seeking Help From the Valedniker Rebbe
Eugen Grunfeld grew up with five siblings and his father was a merchant. After he attended religious schools in Zau Mureş and Bukarest, he studied at a Romanian school in the city. During the war, he was a forced laborer and worked at the Tighina fortress among other places in Romania. After the war, he moved to Cluj-Napoca, where he was married in 1949. He worked as chief trained cellulose insulation technician at a factory for thirty-five years.
Interviews:Studying Khimesh Dilemma
Bura Cohn 's parents were also born in Suliţa and he grew up with two brothers. He was an active member of the Zionist youth group Dror Habonim before the war. He and his father spent the war years as forced laborers in Tiraspol, before they were liberated by the Red Army. He was then trained as carpenter and glazier.
Abram Sharhorodskij ’s parents were also born in Rîbniţa. He grew up with two brothers and one sister. He first attended the local Yiddish school for seven years and then graduated from a Russian school. He was then trained as carpenter. During the war, he was imprisoned in the Rîbniţa ghetto from 1941, until he escaped in 1944. He was a forced laborer in a German hospital next to the ghetto. After his escape, he was drafted into the military and served from 1944 until 1947. He worked as tradesman for forty-five years.
Interviews:The Ribnitser Rebbe
Bella Vaisman was born in 1925 in Berdychiv. Her father was born in Warsaw and worked as a chief accountant. She grew up in a relatively wealthy family. Days before the war began, she went to visit her cousin, as a result of which she was cut of from the rest of her family. She survived the war in evacuation in Uzbekistan, but her family was killed in Berdychiv. She was married to Isaak Vaisman.
Interviews:"a very religious family"
"...and we lived well"
Sabbath Was Sabbath
Ernest Halpert was born in 1923 in Mukacheve, which was then under Czechoslovak rule. His father was a shopkeeper and Halpert grew up with two sisters. Halpert attended a private religious school until his bar mitzvah and then worked at a factory until the outbreak of World War II. When Mukacheve was occupied by the Germans in 1944, he was deported to Austria, where he was imprisoned in several camps as forced laborer. In March 1945, Halpert was drafted into the Red Army. During the postwar Soviet era, Halpert worked as engineer at a factory and raised two children.
Interviews:Minkatch: a Jewish Town
The Hard Years
The Jewish Soul
The Prayer House
Nusn Naybauer was born in Velké Kapušany in 1924 and grew up in Mala Dobron. His father worked in an equestrian military facility. Naybauer attended religious school until his bar mitzvah and moved to Uzhhorod in 1935. During World War II, he was imprisoned in the Hungarian forced labor camp Munka Tabor, before being deported to Auschwitz, Gleiwitz and Mittelbau-Dora camps. After the war, he returned home via Prague and Budapest.
Bergider and Golda Meir
Rita Shveibish was born in 1936 in Tulchyn. She grew up with two brothers. Both of her parents were born in Tulchyn. Her father delivered products for a welding shop. She survived the war in Pechera. After the war, she trained in Vinnytsya as a nurse, and worked as a nurse for fifty years in Tulchyn. Since her retirement, she has been director of the Jewish community of Tulchyn and has been active in establishing memorials for the murdered Jews of the town.
Interviews:Bessarabian and Bukovinian Jews
Inside the Camp
Nesye Katz was born in 1916 in Brailiv and orphaned at a young age when her parents died of typhus. Her father had worked at the mill. She was raised by her uncle, a tinsmith. She served in the Red Army as a nurse during the war and then worked in a factory for thirty-six years. She has a daughter in town and a son who lives in Europe.
Interviews:"the first bomb fell"
Dora Guzman attended both a Ukrainian and a Yiddish-language school. During the famine of 1932–1933, she moved to Pishchanka to live with her aunt and uncle. Her father, born in Tomashpil, worked as a postman. Her mother was born in the Odessa region. She had one younger brother. She survived the war in the Tomashpil ghetto. After the war, she worked as an accountant and as an inspector.
Aleksandr Kolodenker is the brother of Pesia and Lev Kolodenker. He was born in Tulchyn in 1929. During the war, he was imprisoned first in the Tulchyn ghetto and then in the Pechera concentration camp.
Interviews:"they threw us out of our homes"
Penia Golfeld was born in Tulchyn in 1932. He was imprisoned in the Pechera concentration camp during the war. After the war, he trained at a technical institute and found work in a shoe factory, where he was employed for forty-nine years. He served for four years in the military. He married and has a son.
Interviews:From Tulchyn to Pechera
Inside the Camp
Moisei Katz grew up with six siblings. His father was a coachman for wood transportation. He attended heder until the age of thirteen. After his father was "drafted" as forced laborer in the Hungarian army, he continued his father's work as coachman. In 1944, he was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau from the Iza ghetto. He was liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp by the American army in 1945 and returned to Koshelovo, via Prague and Budapest. He moved to Khust in 1954 and worked in his profession as chauffeur.
Interviews:On the Way Home
Saving the Synagogue in Khust
Arrival in Prague
Leaving For Home
Isaak Vaisman 's father, who died in 1928, was also born in Berdychiv and had worked as a tailor. He grew up with one sister. He attended a Yiddish school for seven years, before he was transferred to a Russian school to complete his education. He evacuated to Uzbekistan when the war began, from where he was drafted into the Red Army. He served from 1943 until 1946 in an intelligence unit. After his retirement, he worked as soda seller on the market.
Interviews:Thank God We Had a Piece of Bread
Raisa Chukh Her father, who was born in Poland, made and sold colanders, and her mother was the manager of an artel. She trained as a nurse before the war, but was not sent to the front because she had a toddler to care for, and instead evacuated to the Caucasus, where she worked as a surgeon’s assistant. After the war, she continued working as a nurse until the age of seventy-three. She was head nurse at her hospital for forty years.
Interviews:A Blanket to Fight Hunger
Asya Barshteyn 's father was a purveyor and her mother was a homemaker. She attended a Yiddish school for six years, until her schooling was interrupted by the war. She survived the war in the Sharhorod ghetto. After the war, she completed her schooling by correspondence. She worked as a telegraph dispatcher and a switchboard operator at the post office, and later as a cashier at a barber shop. In 1983 she moved to Vinnytsya,where she is one of the leaders of the Vinnytsya Jewish Women’s Choir.
Interviews:Home: One Small Room
Rebbe, Reb Shneyer
The Great Synagogue
"as though God had baked it"
Arkadii Furer was born in Kryzhopil in 1920. Both his parents were also natives of the town. His father was a tailor. He had two brothers, one of whom was killed fighting during the Second World War. He studied in a Yiddish school for four years, before finishing his education in a Russian school. In 1940, Furer was drafted into the army, and was in Chişinău when the war broke out. He fought first in the Caucasus, and then in Stalingrad where he was injured, but continued fighting, becoming the commander of his division and serving in Crimea. Toward the end of the war, he moved with the army through Belarus, Latvia, and Lithuania, reaching Kaliningrad. He returned to Kryzhopil in 1947 and became the manager of a shop. At the age of sixty, he moved to Vinnytsya to work for the railroad company.
Interviews:Running Away from the Melamed
Grigorii Shor was born in Kopayhorod in 1925. His father was a butcher. He studied for seven years at a Yiddish school and finished his education in a Ukrainian school. He lived in Kopayhorod until he was drafted into the military in 1944. Her remained in the military until 1971.
Interviews:Matzo Baking in the Shtetl
Tatiana Marinina is the sister of Sofia Palatnikova. She was born in 1921 in Teplyk. Her father was a butcher.In the 1930s, she moved to the Lunacharskii collective farm in Crimea. She completed three grades at a Yiddish school in Crimea, and then attended a Russian-language school in Simferopol. After finishing pedagogical training,she worked for two years in an ethnic German village. She survived the war in the Bershad and Raygorod camps. After the war, she worked procuring livestock and later as a German teacher at an evening school. She has a daughter and a son, who lives in Germany.
Interviews:Seder on a Kolkhoz
Etia Shvartzbroit was born in Mohyliv-Podilskyy in 1928. Her grandfather was a rabbi, and her father had a textile workshop, where her mother worked as a pattern-maker. The workshop was closed in the 1920s, after which her father worked as a government purveyor of eggs until his death in 1940. Etia went to a Yiddish school for four years. In 1942, she was imprisoned together with her family in the Pechera concentration camp, where the rest of her family died. She escaped, eventually making it back to Mohyliv-Podilskyy. After the war, she settled in Lutsk.
Interviews:Remedy for the Whooping Cough
Semyon Skliarskii was born in Lypovets in 1926. His father was a furniture maker. His mother died when he was three years old and his father passed away four years later. He was brought up by his mother’s sister. He began his schooling in a Yiddish school, and completed his education in a Ukrainian language school. He survived most of the war in hiding in the Reichskommissariat Ukraine. Toward the end of the war, he joined a group of partisans. After the war he worked as an accountant. He married a woman from Bershad in 1951 and moved to Bershad in 1969.
Interviews:"don't run into the forest"
May 27, 1942: Zhornyshche
Efim Skobilitskii was born in 1919 in Berdichev. His father was born in Poland, near Warsaw, and worked as a metalworker. His mother raised five sons. He studied in both a Yiddish school and in a cheder. During World War II, he served in the Red Army as the commander of a battalion of tanks. After he was demobilized in 1949, he returned to Berdychiv and was trained as an agronomist. He worked at a warehouse transfer station for kolkhozi and zovkhozi for thirty-five years.
"when I encountered the Germans"
Career in the Red Army
The Zogerin (the Synagogue Prompter)
Yenta Kolodenker was born in Tulchyn in 1927. She is the wife of Lev Kolodenker. She has one brother and a sister. Her father was a baker. She survived the war in the Pechera ghetto. She lived in Israel briefly in the 1990s, but returned to Tulchyn. Her son lives in Canada. We interviewed her on January 8 and June 8, 2009 in Tulchyn.
Interviews:"all of Tulchyn into one courtyard"
Inside the Camp
Iosif Torchinsky was born in 1918 in Skvyra. He moved to Kyiv with his older sister in 1934. His father passed away when he was one year old. His mother owned a shop and traded in goods. After her shop was closed down, she worked at the kolkhoz "Der Poyer" as a cook. He attended a Yiddish school for seven years. After graduation, he studied at a Ukrainian commercial school. He joined the Red Army in 1938 and was sent to Odesa to study at a military school.
Boris Tzentziper was born in the village of Dobre, near Nikolaev, in 1923. He fought in the Red Army on the Eastern front in a battalion with 12 different nationalities.
Interviews:A Small Ladder to Heaven
Semyon Vaisblai was born in 1930 in Chemerivtsi. His father worked as a cap-maker and his mother, who died when he was seven years old, was a homemaker. He had a sister and a brother. His brother died under occupation, and his sister served in the Red Army during the war. He attended a Yiddish school for four years. During the war, he was imprisoned in the Kamyanets-Podolskyy ghetto. He escaped the ghetto and, when he reached Chemerivtsi, he became the servant of a German soldier. He was then imprisoned in the Smotrich ghetto, before being sent back to the ghetto in Kamyanets-Podolskyy. The remaining time of the war, he spent on the kolkhoz in Dubinka. After the war, he worked various jobs, such as supplier and shop assistant. He worked as an administrator in the Khmelnytskyy’s synagogue in for many years.
Interviews:Rebbe, Reb Shneyer
Oy vey tsu mayne yorn (Woe to my years)
Berta Vaisburd Berta Aronovna Vaisburd was born in 1931 in Mohyliv-Podilskyy. Her father was a factory worker. During the war, she was imprisoned in the Pechera camp. She managed to escape and hid in Sharhorod, before returning to Mohyliv-Podolskyy, where they lived in abandoned houses. After the war, she studied in Tashkent and got married before returning to Mohyliv-Podilskyy, where she brought up her two daughters.
Interviews:Eating Tsimmes and Raising Geese
Mikhail Vainshelboim was born in Berdychiv in 1928. His parents were both born in Berdychiv, where his father worked as a painter. He had four siblings, two brothers and two sisters. He studied at a Yiddish school for four years, before completing his education at a Russian school. His oldest brother died at the front, his younger brother, parents and two siblings were murdered by the Germans. He escaped the mass shooting that killed his father and was aided in hiding by several non-Jews. He was liberated from a forced labor factory. After the war, he briefly worked in a mill before being drafted into the army in 1950. He served for four and a half years. After his service, he worked another 25 years at a mill, and then at a factory.
Interviews:Bones of Berdychiv
Klara Vaynman was born in 1939 in Vinnytsya. She moved to Lviv shortly thereafter. She evacuated to the Urals during the war. Her father was a director of a factory and her mother, born in Lubenets, was a teacher at a Yiddish technical institute. Her father was killed during the war. After the war, her mother worked in a sugar factory and then in the kindergarten in Bar.
Women's Prayer Quorum
David Vider was born in 1922 in the town of Sighetu Marmatiei (north-western Romania) to a Hasidic family, followers of the Botoshaner Rebbe. Vider had five siblings. After finishing yeshiva, Vider’s father Avrum-Mayer served four years in the Austro-Hungarian army and was wounded during the First World War. During his life, he worked many jobs as a shoykhet (ritual slaughterer), melamed (religious teacher), and a khazn/bal-tfile (cantor and/or prayer leader). Vider’s father and brother were killed during the Second World War. Vider's mother was a women's prayer leader in the synagogue. Vider's father educated him at home, teaching him the Jewish alphabet and basic prayers before he started school. At the age of three, David with his family moved to Hîrlau, where he attended Jewish school, studying in Yididsh in the morning and in Hebrew in the afternoon. Around the age of twelve, Vider's family moved again to Iasi, where Vider received his formal traditional religious education in the Beys-Arn Yeshiva. In his youth, David was a member of the Gordonia Zionist group. After studying for three years to become a tailor, in 1940 Vider moved to the Soviet Union to earn a better living. At the age of eighteen, he began working in a mining town in the Urals and then worked for some time as a mechanic in the Garagum (Kara-kum) desert in Turkmenistan. During the war, Vider worked in the oil fields in Turkmenistan. Later, he worked in a mine in the L’viv area, staying there until the age of seventy, at which time he retired to Kolomyya. Vider was married twice. His first wife was a communist Jewish woman, while his second wife is a Christian woman from Kolomyya.
Maria Yakuta was born in 1921 in Teplyk. She grew up with six siblings. Her parents were also born in Teplyk, and her father worked as a hatmaker. She attended a Yiddish school for seven years. Her parents and three siblings were killed in Teplyk during the war.
Peeking into the Men's Section
The Binding of Isaac
The Matzo Bag
"and a goat on a chain"
Eating Sour Mash - the Great Hunger
Sanctification of the Moon
Tsilia Khaiut was born in 1917 in Mohyliv-Podilskyy. Her father, also from Mohyliv-Podilskyy, was a cobbler. Her mother came from the Bessarabian region, near Mykolaiv. She attended two Yiddish schools and finished her education in 1934. She had two sisters and a brother. She survived the war in the Mohyliv-Podilskyy ghetto and a concentration camp in Transnistria.
Interviews:Money from America
Nisen Yurkovetsky was born in 1917 in Tulchyn. His parents were killed in a pogrom when he was less than two years old, and he was brought up by his grandmother. His father had been a barber. He trained as a chauffeur in Bratslav and fought in the Finnish War. He was injured fighting for the Red Army in the early days of the Second World War. After his demobilization, he ended up in the Pechera concentration camp and the Bershad ghetto. He later rejoined the Red Army. After the war, he continued his work as a chauffeur in Bratslav
The Tulchyn Pogrom
Sara Gvinter was born in 1930 in Bershad. She is a niece of the violinist David Oistrakh. Her father, who died when she was young, was a carpenter, and her mother was a cook. During the Second World War, she was imprisoned in the Bershad ghetto and the Pechera con- centration camp. She was shot by the Germans during a mass shooting outside Pechera, but survived and pulled herself out of a mass grave. She worked for the partisans briefly in the Bershad region. She returned to Bershad after the war, married, and worked as a seamstress.
Let It Be Enough!
The Synagogue Cellar
Sonia Litvak was born in 1925 in Novohrad-Volynskyy. She had four siblings. Her father, a leatherworker, was also born in Novohrad-Volynskyy. Her mother worked occasionally as a freelance seamstress. Sonia studied at a Yiddish school. After the war, she worked as a curricular administrator in kindergartens, as well as in a textile factory. In the 1960s, she worked in the cultural department of the Soviet consulate in Germany.
Interviews:The Head of the Fish
The Fur Coat
Moyshe Margolis was born in Zhytomyr in 1939. His grandfather was a cantor. During the war, he was evacuated from Zhytomyr.
Riva Medved was born in 1927 in Chernousova, near Vinnytsya. She was in the Balta ghetto during the war.
Mira Murovanaia was born in 1926 in Mykolaiv. Her father, a colonel, was born in Kublich. He was positioned in Moscow and taught at the Army Technical School (NVD) in Babushkin. Her mother was born in Haysyn and, as a devoted Communist, worked as president of a tailors’ collective. She had a half-sister from her father’s second marriage. She attended a Russian school and finished seven grades in Haysyn. During the war, she evacuated to Central Asia. After the war, she was trained at a pharmacy and then worked as a pharmacist technician for forty-five years. She has two daughters; they live in Moscow and in Haysyn.
Revolutionary Celebrations and Jewish Holy Days
Sofia Palatnikova is the sister of Tatiana Marinina. She was born in 1927 in Teplyk. Her father was a butcher. In the 1930s, she moved to the Lunacharskii collective farm in Crimea. She went to a Ukrainian school for six years, but her schooling was interrupted by the war. She survived the war in Teplyk and Bershad, and in camps in Bratlsav, Haysyn, and Raygorod. After the war, she worked in an industrial complex for twenty-two years.
Interviews:"as soon as they attacked, they were already here"
Taking Out the Flour
Sonye's Gefilte Fish
Mira Pasik was born in 1933 in Nikolaev. She grew up on a Jewish kolkhoz (collective farm), Yefingar, where she says that everybody spoke Yiddish and even the Russians on the kolkhoz went to the Yiddish school.The collective farm celebrated all the Jewish holidays and even tried to keep kosher.
Liza Petrunenko Liza Iakovlevna Petrunenko was born in Rakova in 1918. Her father worked at the kolkhoz Gigant in Tomashpol. She studied at a Ukrainian school and worked at the kolkhoz as well. After the war, she went to the medical institute in Vinnitsya for six months and then worked as disinfector at a hospital in Tomashpol for 47 years.
Interviews:Rolling an Egg
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.
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
Interviews:Oy mayn libe Basarabye (My Beloved Bessarabia)
Efim Rubin was born in 1922 in Buki. He is Matvei’s cousin. Efim attended a Yiddish school for four years, before finishing his education at a Ukrainian school. His father was a barber. He was drafted in 1940 and trained as an officer in Odessa. During the war, he fought at the Moscow, Leningrad, Smolensk and Kalinin fronts. After the war, he worked as a dental technician in Uman. He was interviewed together with his cousin, Matvei Vladimirovich (Motl ben Velvl) Rubin, who was born in 1928 in Buki.
Interviews:Making Matzo Dough with a Roller
Writing in Soviet Yiddish
Pyotr Sandler "Perets Shilovich" Sandler was born in Starokostyantyniv in 1926. His father was a barber, and his grandfather was a shoemaker and the head of the Jewish community in Zhytomyr in 1945. Sandler went to a religious school (kheyder), as well as a Yiddish school, which he attended for four grades. During the war, Sandler's family was evacuated to the Volgograd region and later to Uzbekistan. His father died of cholera and was buried in a mass grave there. After the war, the family returned to Starokostyantyniv.
Rakhil Shames was born in 1915 in Ivanopolis (Yanushpol) in 1915. Her father was a millworker. During the war she evacuated to the east and returned afterwards to Khmilnyk. She worked most of her life as a bookkeeper.
Anatolii Shor was born in Bershad in 1922. His father was the leader of a local Hasidic group in town and worked as a hatmaker. He had two brothers and a sister. He went to a Yiddish school for four years and finished his education in a Ukrainian school. He also attended a heder.
Interviews:Khad Gadyo (One Little Goat)
Evgeniia Shusterman "was born in Tomashpil. Her father Toyva (1901-1995) was a pious man and good singer, who could read and write in Russian and Yiddish. During the war, Shusterman was evacuated to Mordovia, Russia, while her father was on the front. Evgeniia worked as a head accountant, but retired early at the age of 35 to take care of her father, who had then gone blind."
Arkadii Gelman was born in 1921 in Kamyanets-Podilskyy. His father, also born in Kamyanets-Podilskyy, was a locksmith and his mother, who was born in Kitaygorod, was a homemaker. He had three siblings: two brothers and one sister. Before the war, he went to a Yiddish school and worked together with his father as a locksmith. He served in the Red Army during the Second World War, and fought in the Battle of Berlin. After the war, he worked as a cattle dealer.
Interviews:Craftsmen and Merchants
Sabbath and Poverty
Manya Gingold born in 1927 in Tomasphil. She attended a Yiddish school for three years, and then completed her education in a Russian school. Her father was a laborer and her mother worked as a cleaning woman in the offices of the district executive committee. She had one brother and another sibling who died in infancy. She survived the war in the Tomashpil ghetto. After the war, she continued to live with her parents and her brother in Tomasphpil.
Izrail Gliazer was born in 1919 in Podgaytse. His father worked as a glass and window maker. He attended a Polish-language school, before working at a printer’s office. During the war, he joined the Red Army and worked as a radio operator. He fought the Japanese in the Far East, where he stayed until 1946. After the war, he moved to Chortkiv before eventually settling in Ternopil in the 1960s.
Iosef Grayf was born in Kolomyya in 1922 to parents Gershon and Etl. He had six siblings. Iosef was educated in a Polish-language school and in a "kheyder" (traditional religious school for young boys), where he learned to pray and read and write in Yiddish. Just before the war, Grayf worked on the trains before being drafted into the Red Army. He served in the Far East and on the Eastern front during the Great Patriotic War. After the war, Grayf returned to Kolomyya, where he found no family left. Nevertheless, he decided to stay in the town. After the war, Grayf worked in a dental laboratory. In this photograph, Grayf shows the researchers his jacket covered with war medals.
People Stood Outside
Return to Kolomyya
Nukhim Gvinter was born in Bershad in 1936. He is Khayke Gvinter’s brother. He grew up with four siblings. He survived the war in the Bershad ghetto. After the war, he worked as a carpenter in a textile factory and then as the manager of a shoe store. He also served in the military after the war. He has three children.
Klara Katsman was born in 1931 in Tulchyn. Her father was a brushmaker and her mother was a homemaker. She has lived in Tulchyn her entire life, other than during the war when she was imprisoned in the Pechera concentration camp. After the war, she returned to Tulchyn, where she worked as a tailor. She has a son and a daughter.
Interviews:March to Pechera
Aba Kaviner was born in 1921 in Derazhnya, where he was able to receive a Jewish education, first in a heder and then in a clandestine yeshiva. His father worked as a cooper and his mother was a homemaker. In 1939 he was drafted into a military school in Leningrad. He remained in the army until 1946, serving in the Baltics and in Moscow. After the war he returned to Derazhnya, but soon thereafter moved to Khmelnytskyy, where he eventually found work as the director of a carpentry workshop.
Interviews:The Butcher's Synagogue
Transmitting Secrets to America
Physics in Yiddish
Anya Kelmenson was born and spent her childhood in Khmel'nyts'kyy. During the war, she was evacuated to Tashkent. After the war, she lived in Central Asia and later in Chisinau, eventually moving to Bratslav.
Interviews:Dishes in the Attic
Roza Klein was born in 1923 in the village Grebenivke. She comes from a highly educated family. Her mother was born in the village Sakhnovtsy and her father was born in the village Hrybenynka and worked as a carpenter. Klein had four siblings. Roza received her education at a Yiddish school where she studied for three grades and which in 1938 was turned into a Russian school with the same teachers now teaching in Russian. Since Klein's father was a specialist, he was evacuated to Omsk (Central Asia) during the war, and the family spent the duration of the war there.
Interviews:At the Yiddish School
Yosl Kogan was born in 1927 in Bershad. His father, a soap-maker, died during the 1933 famine. He was brought up by his mother, a candy-maker. He spent much of the war in the Bershad ghetto, where he wrote songs about his experiences. He served in the Red Army and participated in the liberation of Berlin. After his military service, he worked at a liquor factory in Bershad, draining molasses. He moved to Tulchyn in 1960 and worked in a procurement office.
Interviews:"I love Yiddish"
Valik, Zhuzhia and Ivanov
"And every day we waited to die"
Tsezeyt un tseshpreyt (Scattered and dispersed)
Inside the Ghetto
Aheym, briderlekh, aheym (Homeward, brother, homeward)
From the Chimney to Berlin
Pesia Kolodenker was born in Tulchyn in 1927. She is the sister of Lev and Aleksandr Kolodenker, as well as the husband of Nisen Kiselman. Her mother was a candy wrapper, before becoming a homemaker. She survived the war in the Tulchyn ghetto and Pechera concentration camp.
Interviews:A Wealthy Family
A Piece of Bread
Transport of Corpses
At the Yiddish School
Evgeniia Kozak was born in 1926 in Bershad. She attended a Ukrainian school for eight years. Her parents, who were cousins, were both born in Bershad. Her father was a furrier. She had a younger brother and sister. She survived the war in evacuation in Bezopasnik, Orlovsky Region in the Caucasus and then in Andizhanskaia in the Stalinska region in Central Asia. When she returned to Bershad after the war, in April 1944, her mother worked as a baker. She married in 1958 and has two sons. Her husband died before her second son was born, when her first son was just one and a half years old.
Interviews:Stuffed Neck with Chicken Fat
A Pair of Shoes
Food on Sabbath
Evgeniia's Gefilte Fish
Evgeniia Krasner was born in 1936 in Shpykiv. She attended a Ukrainian school before the war and spoke Yiddish only among her family. Her father worked as an accountant in a sugar factory. During the war, she was imprisoned in the Pechera camp. After the war she was trained at the Cultural Institute of Kiev, from which she graduated as a librarian.
Interviews:The Esebet (Reclining Bed)
Zhenya's Gefilte Fish
Semyon Krotsh was born in 1922 in Ştefăneşti into a poor family with many children. Krotsh was educated in a "kheyder" (traditional religious boys' school), a Romanian-Modern Hebrew Jewish school, and a yeshiva, where he studied Talmud and other traditional texts. Although Krotsh was an excellent student, he also studied to be a tailor. During the war years, Krotsh went to the Soviet Union and was evacuated from the town of Rîbnita to the Caucasus region of Russia, where he worked in a kolkhoz (collective farm). From there, he was evacuated further into Azerbaijan, and then drafted into the Red Army from 1942 to 1947. Krotsh went to Kolomyya after the war in 1949 with the intention to move to Romania. However, by the time he got there, the border was closed and Krotsh settled in the town, got married, and had three sons.
Interviews:Ekhod mi yoydeo (Who knows one)
Zits ikh mir in kretshme (I'm sitting in the Tavern)
Mikhail Kupershmidt was born in Bratslav in 1914. His father was a coachman and his mother stayed home and looked after the children and the cow. His parents had six children, two of whom died in infancy. He attended a Yiddish school in Bratslav for four years. He served in the military in the Finnish War, and was working as a chauffeur when the war began. He survived under Nazi occupation in Reichkommissariat Ukraine, and ended the war serving in the Red Army. After the war, he returned to Bratslav, where he continued working as a driver. His first wife died in 1947. He soon remarried and has a son, who lives in Israel.
Interviews:The Orchard and the Mass Grave
The Southern Bug River
“our children’s children’s children’s children must know”
Semyon Later Semyon Efimovich Later was born in 1919 in Smotrich. He studied German at the Foreign Language Institute in Moscow. He worked as a director of a Yiddish school before the war. His father was a bookkeeper. After the school was closed down, he transferred to a Russian middle school and taught German language. He was drafted into the Red Army in 1940 and arrived in Kamyanets-Podilskyy in 1955. During the war, he fought in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Germany, rising to the rank of captain. After the war, he worked as the chairperson of a local cooperative.
Interviews:The Holiday Cycle
Elizaveta Bershadskaia was born in Chernyatka in 1927. Her father was a barber and was also born in Chernyatka. Her mother was born in Bershad and worked as a seamstress. She had two brothers and a sister. She moved to Bershad at the age of 13, and spent much of the war in the Bershad ghetto. We interviewed her on July 18, 2002 in Bershad.
Getting Ready For Sabbath
How to Get Food
Sura Bivson was born in 1926 in Polonne. Her father paved clay floors. Sura attended a Yiddish school for six years. In 1941, her family escaped from Polonne and evacuated to Birobidzhan. After the war in 1945, Bivson returned to Polonne, and a few years later, her family moved to Starokostyantyniv, where she was married and had one son. Bivson worked as a telephone operator for forty years.
Interviews:Birobidzhan in 1941
the shoykhet across from us
Arkadii Burshtein was born in Sobolivka in 1928. His father was a tailor. He attended a Yiddish school for four years, and then finished his education in a Ukrainian school. He survived in labor camps in the Reichkommissariat Ukraine before making his way into Transnistria. After the war he returned to Haysyn, where he worked as chief engineer in a garment factory.
My Grandfather and the Priest
My Grandfather's Observance
"they wanted us to stay alive."
The Mass Grave in Sobolivka
Arkadii's Gefilte Fish
Lazar Burshtein was born in Goworowo (Poland; Yiddish: Govrove) in 1929, where he lived until the 1939 German invasion of Poland. He had five siblings and went to religious school (kheyder) and then studied at a Polish school. When the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, he fled with his family into Soviet occupied Belorussia, first to Bialystok and then to Bobruisk, where he lived until the 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union. After He then fled with his family further east toward the Urals, where he lived in evacuation in Chusovaya for the duration of the war, during which time his parents died. There he met some other Jews from Zhytomyr, and decided in 1944, to settle with them in Zhytomyr.
Interviews:Oreme pleytim (Poor Refugees)
Alexander Cherner Alexander Cherner was born in 1935 in Balta. He comes from a family of klezmer musicians, and has written some 500 klezmer tunes. He lived in Balta until 1952 and then moved to Kharkiv, where he worked as turner and locksmith at a factory. He moved to Odessa in 1961.
Interviews:Playing Fiddle with my Grandfather
Bella Chirkova 's father was a rabbi and her grandfather was a cantor. During the war, she served at the front as a nurse. After the war she moved to Vinnytsya to study at a pedagogical institute, and then worked as a teacher. We met her at the Vinnytsya Jewish women’s choir, where she was dancing and singing at ninety years of age.
Interviews:What It Means to Be a Jew
Remedy for the Evil Eye
The Sabbath Candles
Motl Derbaremdiker was born in 1920 in Berdichev. He traces his ancestry to Hasidic Tsadik Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev. His father was a soap maker and later became the manager of a soap and soda shop. His mother worked as a seamstress. Motl studied at a heder and then at a Yiddish school for seven grades. In 1936 he moved to Kiev to study chemistry at the Institute of Leather Industry. During the war, he was evacuated to Samara (Kuibyshev), and he returned to Kiev in 1945, where he settled. After postgraduate studies at the Kiev Light Industry University, he worked as a research engineer in a factory.
Interviews:A Great Hunger Myth
Miron Endelshtein was born in 1925 in Belgorod-Dnestrovskiy (formerly Akerman, Bessarabia). He spoke extensively about his service in the Red Army during the war, in which he used the name Mironov, so that people wouldn't know he was Jewish.
Interviews:"a memorial plaque"
Brukhe Feldman was born in 1938 or 1939 in Bershad. Her father died fighting in the war when she was three years old, and she was brought up by her mother. She spent much of her life working in a furniture factory.
Interviews:Postwar Religious Practice
A Gravestone for My Mother
Hunger of 1946
Kheskele - the Clarinetist
A Jew Must Eat Matzo
Moisei Fish " was born in March, 1922 in Rivne. His father was known as Zalmen der Miler (b. 1883 in Koloniya Olizarka), since he worked as a house-builder and brick-layer. His mother, Khaye bas Yoyne, was born in 1887 in Zholuds'k, a nearby town. The family moved to Rivne at the start of World War I in 1914. Fish's mother was a housewife and raised the family's five children, of whom Moisei was the youngest. This whole family was killed in the early years of World War II, as were most of the approximately one hundred relatives Fish had before the war. Fish started going to a kheyder (religious school for young boys) at 3.5 years of age and continued until age five. At the age of five-six years, Moisei's father got him a private teacher, who for an hour a day in the afternoon would teach him how to pray. At the age of seven, he began to attend a ""shule"", a Polish-language Jewish school, and continued for seven years. After 7th grade, at the age of thirteen, Fish entered a Polish-language Jewish gymnasium, which he finished in 1939, three months before the war. In the 1930s, Fish participated in Shomer Akiva, a socialist youth group. After graduating from the gymnasium, Fish worked for two months until the war broke out . When the war started, Fish ran on foot to Kotsk at the former Soviet-Polish border, eventually being able to evacuate to the Russian interior and later to Kazakhstan. There, he worked in rice fields, and then in the bookkeeping office in a Korean kolkhoz. He tried to join the army, but he was sent back because he was a former Polish citizen and did not speak Russian well. He moved to Stalingrad and worked in a war-factory for two months. Finally in 1942 he was mobilized and sent to the front. Fish fought in Belarus, Poland, Germany, where he was wounded in the leg by grenade shrapnel, and the Far East. After the war, he completed a Soviet accounting institute. Fish moved back to Rivne in 1946 and found a job as the head accountant in a restaurant, where he worked until 1982. In 1946, Fish married Ida Lakir, a Jewish woman from Kalinindorf, one of the Joint-supported Soviet Jewish kolkhozes. They had three sons. Fish and his wife prepared to immigrate to Israel, but could not go in the end because of his wife's health. Fish has been involved with the local religious community since 1995, where he serves as a leader/cantor [gabe un khazn]. "
a Childhood Ditty
"Look, over there is a Jew"
David Furman David Zelikovich Furman was born in 1919 in Berdychiv. He worked as a carpenter before the war and was drafted into the Red Army in 1939 to train in Vladivostok. He fought at the Stalingrad front during the war.
Interviews:I Defended Stalingrad
Alexei Futiran was born in Tomashpol in 1925, the son of a coachman. Both his parents were also born in Tomashpol. He was one of six children; two of his brothers died fighting in the Second World War. He attended a Yiddish school for four years, and then completed his education at a Ukrainian language school. At the age of fifteen he began working as a carpenter. During the war he was evacuated to the east, and then drafted into the army in 1943, serving in the Far East until 1950. After the war, he worked as a leatherworker, making hats. He married his first wife in 1950. After she passed away, he remarried a non-Jewish woman. He has two sons, one in Moscow and one in Israel.
Interviews:a Poor Family
Naum Gaiviker born in 1912 in Khmel’nytskyy (Proskurov). He worked as a barber for 36 years, just like his father. In 1930 he decided to move to Moscow, but had to return to Khmel’nytskyy during the Famine in 1933. He was drafted into the Red Army in 1941 and fought in multiple fronts, including Stalingrad, until the end of the war.
Interviews:"I was a courageous lad"
The Proskurov Pogrom
Sofia Geller was born in 1929 in Bratlsav. Her father worked as a coachman before the war. During the war, she evacuated to Central Asia, where she worked in a collective farm. When she returned to Bratslav after the war, she worked in the city council. She is married to Dovid Geller. She and Dovid have two daughters who live in Moscow.
Hebrew - the Language of Prayer
With Horse and Wagon to Donbas
"we need to have a wedding!"
David Geller was born in 1929 in Zhmerynka. During the war he evacuated to Central Asia, first to Tashkent and then to Shymkent. After the war, he returned to Zhmerynka, but soon moved to Kiev, where he worked in a factory. In 1950 he was drafted into the army, served for three years, and then settled in Bratslav, where his wife was from.
Interviews:"In short, I am a Jew"
Evacuation of the Communists
"we need to have a wedding!"
Dovid's Gefilte Fish
Veniamin Geller was born in 1923 in Pyatka. He has three siblings. Binyomin's father, Yankl, was born in Khazhin, four kilometers from Berdychiv, and his mother in Velyka P'yatyhirka. Geller's father worked in a sugar factory in Gorobtsy and later was a glass-maker in a factory until 1932. When the Great Hunger broke out in 1932, the factory was closed down and Yankl looked for work in Dnipropetrovs'k. However, he fell ill and had to return home in 1934, where he passed away shortly after. Binyomin studied at a Ukrainian school because the Yiddish school was closed in 1930. Geller's family moved to Zhytomyr in 1936. When the war broke out, the family was evacuated to Kazan before the Germans entered Zhytomyr. Geller was drafted in March 1942. He served in the Red Army for four years and was injured three times. He returned to Zhytomyr after the war and got married in 1949.
Interviews:the Great Famine Exodus
a New Life
Throwing Stones on Kol Nidre
Frida Pecherskaia was born in 1927 in Bratslav. Her father Yosif was a coachman. She had four siblings. Her brother Hershl died in the war at the age of 17, while serving in the Red Army. At the age of 12, Frida was imprisoned in the Pechera concentration camp, where she witnessed the murder of her mother. She also lost two of her sisters in the Pechera concentration camp. Frida escaped the camp and went to Bratslav but was taken back to Pechera by the Germans. After the liberation of the Pechera concentration camp, she returned to Bratslav. She has been living in Tulchyn since her wedding in 1945.
Interviews:They Took Her - Alive
Nisen Kiselman was born in Tomashpil in 1927. He is a cousin of Pesia, Sasha and Lev Kolodenker, as well as the husband of Pesia Kolodenker. His father was a coachman and his mother was a homemaker. His father died during the famine in 1933, leaving his mother to care for Nisen, his sister, and his four brothers. During the Second World War, he was confined to the Tomashpil ghetto, where his mother and sister were both killed by the Germans in a massacre. After the war, he joined the Red Army and served for seven years.
Interviews:Tomashpil Massacre of August 4, 1941
Inside the Ghetto
Lev Kolodenker is the brother of Pesia and Aleksandr Kolodenker and husband of Yente Kolodenko, nee Tolkovitz. He was born in Tulchyn in 1925. His father was a coachman and he worked in the Tulchyn shoe factory at the age of fifteen. In 1941, at the age of sixteen, he was drafted into a military training institute, and joined the Red Army in 1944, where he rose to the rank of sergeant. After the war, he worked as truck driver and then again as shoemaker for thirty-five years.
From Tulchyn to Pechera
Matvei Rubin was born in 1928 in Buki.
Liudmila Shor is the wife of Grigorii Shor and was born in Kopayhorod. She attended a Ukrainian language school. Her father owned a flower shop, but was driven out of the house and shop in the 1930s. Her family then moved to Verkhovka and her father became a barber. She has two daughters, one lives in Israel and the other in Germany. She is active in the Vinnytsya Jewish Women’s Choir.
Interviews:A Coachman's Song
Vanity of Vanities
I'm leaving you my dear in-laws
David Soyfer was born in 1930 in Berdychiv. His father, a kosher butcher, was also born in Berdichev and his mother was born in a village near Zhytomyr. He grew up with one brother. During the Famine, he moved to the village to live with his grandmother on a collective farm. In 1939, he returned to Berdichev to live with his father. During the war, he evacuated to the northern Caucasus, and then to Kazakhstan. In 1950, after his return to Berdichev, he was drafted into the Red Army for three and a half years. After his service, he worked as a cooper for thirty-five years. His has one daughter, who lives in Berdychiv.