Return to ATM Online Collections  > AHEYM: The Archive of Historical and Ethnographic Yiddish Memories  > Bratslav

 (09-010.09-F) -  Shelf Number: MDV 396

No streaming derivative is available.

Date: June 27, 2005

Participants: Geller, Sofia Abramovna; Geller, David Grigoryevich; Kupershmidt, Mikhail Aronovich. Interviewed by Dov-Ber Kerler, Dovid Katz and Jeffrey Veidlinger.

Location recorded: Bratslav, Vinnyts'ka Oblast', Ukraine

Language: Yiddish, Russian

Culture Group: Jews, Yiddish-speakers, Ukrainians

 Recording Content:   

The first part of the recording is the continuation of a formal interview with Sofia Abramovna Geller and David Grigoryevich Geller, born. (Part 3 of 3. See MDV 394 and MDV 395) The tape begins in the house of Sofia and David Geller. The team discusses Jewish life in Bratslav over bread and brandy. Sofia tells of various Jewish food customs and tells of how Jewish life cycle events were celebrated, such as a bris (circumcision). The Gellers sing Yiddish songs and Sofia sings Hasidic tunes (nigunim). The team leaves and drives to the house of Mikhail Kupershmidt.

The team's second interview with Mikhail Kupershmidt takes place. (Part 1 of 2. See MDV 397) (See also: Accession # 09-010.56-F MDV 760 for home interiors) In this segment, Kupershmidt concentrates on his childhood in Bratslav and his family life. He then turns to his experiences during World War II.

00:00:00 The camera collects outside footage of Geller's home.
00:01:15 The camera cuts to the Geller's interview. David speaks about his life before the war and describes his circumcision ceremony. He states that his father was excluded from the Party.
00:02:36 Sofia talks about her brother's circumcision, including food customs for the "Kriyat-Sh'ma" reading (a prayer that must be recited every evening before bed the night before).
00:06:02 Sofia points out her photograph and the camera records more family photographs. They then chat.
00:07:50 Sofia and David sing well-known Yiddish songs. Sofia also sings a song in Russian, as well as nigunim (Hasidic tunes).
00:15:04 The team travels with David Geller to the next interview with Kupershmidt. The camera collects town footage. They then arrive and greet Kupershmidt in his house and set up the interview with him.
00:20:19 The interview with Kupershmidt begins. He talks about prewar Jewish life in Bratslav, including the synagogue and occupational structure. He also addresses local charity.
00:25:27 Kupershmidt speaks about his family. He grew up with two brothers and one sister. Kupershmidt's father was a coach man and was born in Bratslav. He then describes his father's work. Kupershmidt's mother was born in a near-by village. He also describes his childhood home, where his parents kept a cow.
00:29:08 Kupershmidt speaks about well-off locals in Bratslav, as well as prewar religious life. Kupershmidt remembers the local religious school teacher and Hasidim. He also describes the socio-economic structure in prewar Jewish Bratslav.
00:33:58 Kupershmidt talks about holiday celebrations at home before the war. He in particular addresses Sabbath preparations and food customs.
00:36:15 Kupershmidt talks about his life during World War II. He studied to become a driver until 1940. Kupershmidt explains that he was not able to follow through his evacuation plans and ended up in prison instead. After the German invasion, Kupershmidt continues, he changed his name and spent three and a half months in the Rivne ghetto. Kupershmidt was also imprisoned in the Zhytomyr ghetto beforehand.
00:40:00 Kupershmidt speaks about his return after the war. His wife and child were imprisoned in the Uman ghetto during the war. He also addresses the Bratslav ghetto and its liquidation. Kupershmidt then returns to his life and work during the war. He was a chauffeur for the Germans, frequently driving to Nemyriv, for approximately one year. Kupershmidt speaks about the encounter with a benevolent German, who saved him from mass collection for forced labor in 1941.
00:48:12 Kupershmidt talks about local families, who perished during the war, before he continues to speak about his work during World War II. He then recalls a German officer who was married to a Jewish woman and and his interactions with him. Kupershmidt also shares an episode when he went to Mohyliv-Podilskyy to make a delivery.
00:59:21 Kupershmidt talks about his family's life during World War II.
01:00:36 End of recording.