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Oral history interview with Frida Isaakovna Pecherskaia and Valentina Bentsionovna Popivker

Oral History | Accession Number: 2009.103.5 | RG Number: RG-50.632.0005

Frida Isaakovna Pecherskaia (born in 1927 in Bratslav) is joined by her daughter Sima (age 52-54 and has lived in Israel for nine years) and a neighbor Valentina Bentsionovna Popivker (born in 1933). Frida Isaakovna Pecherskaia describes being the eldest girl of five children; the war starting and her father being taken into the army; her brother volunteering for the army at age 17 (he worked in a tank and died during the war); being marched with her family from Bratslav on foot to Pechora camp; being the only survivor of all her siblings; meeting her husband in Bratslav in 1945; working at a beer factory; the sparse fair at her wedding; her parents, who were very poor; her mother dying at the age of 34 at Pechora camp; her father, who was a water carrier; carrying a stool for her grandfather to the synagogue on Friday-Saturday and waiting for him outside on the street; her mother never lighting the stove on Shabbat and how she made tsimmes and fish for Shabbat; her mother also making yuch (fish gravy) and lokshen (noodles); her grandmother praying with a siddur (prayerbook); beginning her studies at age seven in a Jewish school in Bratslav and the destruction of the Jewish school by fire six months later; transferring to a Ukrainian school; Passover, for which they bought an egg and baked matzo; having separate kosher dishes for Passover; Yom Kippur, for which they prepared gefilte fish, kugel, special compote, and tsimmes; her memories of her mother wearing a kerchief and lighting a candle holder holding two candles, while her father wore talles (tallit); participating in the fast on Yom Kippur beginning at age eight; the practice of “shlogen kapures” (transferring sins to a slaughtered chicken before Yom Kippur by moving it in a circle around one’s head); how a Ukrainian woman would heat up the food for them; Sukkot, which was a festive holiday during which they built a sukkah then danced and sang; children being given “Hannukah gelt” and candy; lighting candles on Shabbat and during Hanukkah; celebrating Purim and Shevuot; her mother baking umen-tashen (hamantash) for Purim and boimebilkes (sweet rolls); the kosher butcher Moishe-shoikhet, who also performed gemolet (circumcisions); how when someone died relatives sat shivah for seven days and ate on the floor; settling in Tulchin, Ukraine in 1945; Sima’s recollections of an episode when she baked a matzo cake and offered some to a Ukrainian woman who refused to eat it because “it was mixed with blood of children”; and Ms. Popivker’s memories of the traditions during Passover, child birth, and pregnancy.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Valentina B. Popivker
Frida I. Pecherskaia
A. Kushkova
V. Fedchenko
M. Treskunov
interview:  2005 July 17
2 digital files : MP3.
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 19:53:47
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