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

 (09-010.52-F) -  Shelf Number: MDV 699

No streaming derivative is available.

Date: June 28, 2005

Participants: Preger, Ester Khananovna; Sapozhnik, Klara Naumovna; Guzman, Dora Bentsionovna. Interviewed by Dov-Ber Kerler, Jeffrey Veidlinger, Dovid Katz.

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

Language: Yiddish, Russian

Culture Group: Jews, Yiddish-speakers, Ukrainians

 Recording Content:   

Continuation of interview with Ester Khananovna Preger. (Part 2 of 2. See MDV 697) Preger talks about the role of local Ukrainians in both saving Jews and helping the Germans during the war. She also describes the ghetto in Tomashpol’ itself with its high fence. After the war, according to Preger, there remained 185 Jews in Tomashpol’, but since the fall of the Soviet Union, most of these people emigrated to America and Israel. The rest of the interview consists of Preger sharing her views and complaints about Ukraine’s various economic, political, healthcare-related and inter-ethnic problems as well as those in the contemporary Jewish community supported by the Joint based in Vinnytsya.

The video cuts to a formal interview with Klara (Khaye) Naumovna Sapozhnik. Born in Tomashpol’ in 1924 as one of eight children, Sapozhnik claims to speak “pure” Yiddish. Her parents Naum (Nusn) Yudkovitch and Rakhil’ (Rukhl) Yakovlevna worked in a kolkhoz not far from the town. Sapozhnik recalls the synagogue in Tomashpol’ and describes how the women there prayed and how her father read from a siddur, which she still has. She characterizes her youth as one of poverty and hardship, recalling the famine in the early 1930s, during which some non-Jews resorted to cannibalism. She tells the researchers about her brother and his family in Israel and how she was also going to emigrate, but decided against it when her husband passed away.

Sapozhnik tells the interviewers about Tomashpol’’s remaining Yidish speaker and briefly addresses some questions related to linguistics before telling more stories about her family’s experiences during the war. When the war began, her brothers Shloyme, Yoske, Leyb, and Yidl were drafted into the Red Army. In the town two ghettos were set up, but Klara was able to escape, although much of her family was indeed killed by Romanians. In the postwar period, according to Sapozhnik, Tomashpol’ remained a predominantly Jewish, Yiddish-speaking town. Sapozhnik also shares family recipes for fish and melay, a kind of cornbread. Sapozhnik updates the research team on the status of previous interviewees.

The camera cuts to children playing and other scenes of Tomashpol’.

The team drives to the home of Dora Bentsionovna Guzman, another native of Tomashpol’, who is then formally interviewed. (Part 1 of 2. See Accession # 09-010.02-F MDV 329) Guzman received her education at Yiddish schools in Tomashpol’ until the famine in the 1930s when she began classes in Ukrainian schools in Pishchanka, a town where her family moved to during the famine and where she had an uncle. Her father, Ben-Tsiyon Abramovich was a pious Jew who prayed at one of Tomashpol’’s three synagogues. Her mother Sure Usherovna was originally from the Odessa region.