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Oral history interview with Chayale Ash-Fuhrman

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.30 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0030

Chayale Ash-Fuhrman (née Averbuch), born in 1920 in Kishinev, Bessarabia, Romania (Chisinau, Moldova), describes life in Kishinev; her education in public school and private Jewish school; her parents’ troupe of Yiddish actors which she was part of until she turned professional at age 15; details on the Yiddish theater group; the Romanian government restrictions in the inter-war period and the effects of the Russian occupation of Bessarabia in 1940; how the Moldavian Yiddish State Theatre could function only under strict Communist guidelines; being evacuated in June 1941 with the theater group and other civilians to Ukraine with Russian help; being forced to stop in a kolkhoz (cooperative village) in K'harkov (Kharkiv, Ukraine) to help with the harvest; the refugees living under primitive conditions and encountering antisemitism from the villagers; being sent in November 1941 to Kuibyshev (Samara, Russia) then to Tashkent, Uzbekistan to pick cotton in another cooperative; the difficulties of adapting to the Russian way of getting along; relations with the locals and the onset of hatred for Jews; her father dying of dysentery in 1942; using her training from professional school and joining a sewing cooperative to get more bread; trying to practice their religion; working as a clerk in a steel mill in Begovat (Bekobod, Uzbekistan); getting married in 1943 to a man who was working as a mechanic at the mill; returning to Poland in 1945 with her husband in an exchange program for Polish citizens; settling in a displaced persons camp in Silesia; working as an emigration secretary for "Poale Zion" and the various strategies Jewish refugees used to leave Russia; how in 1948 she went with her husband and her mother to Vienna, Austria; being placed in a displaced persons camp in Linz, Austria, where Chayale gave birth to a daughter; UNRRA and the Joint Distribution Committee helping them go to Jaffa, Israel with false papers on an Italian ship, Campidoglio, in August 1948; her husband joining the army; early immigrant life in Israel under wartime conditions; founding the Haifa Yiddish Operetta Theatre in 1949; moving later to Tel Aviv; performing in London, England and touring South Africa with an all Israeli ensemble; her divorce in 1953; marrying her second husband, an actor from Romania, in New York, NY in 1959 and staying in the United States; and her feelings about the Holocaust and its effects on the children of survivors.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Ash-Fuhrman, Chayale
interview:  1981 September 21
4 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 20:10:40
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