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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

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

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.

Interviewee
Valentina B. Popivker
Frida I. Pecherskaia
Interviewer
A. Kushkova
V. Fedchenko
M. Treskunov
Date
2005 July 17  (interview)
Extent
2 digital files : MP3.
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:40:14
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn85572