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 (09-010.06-F) -  Shelf Number: MDV 371

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Date: July 18, 2002

Participants: Bershad'skaya, Elizaveta Konstantinovna. Interviewed by Dov-Ber Kerler, Jeffrey Veidlinger

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

Language: Yiddish

Culture Group: Jews, Yiddish-speakers, Ukrainians

 Recording Content:   

This recording is the continuation of a formal interview with Elizaveta Konstantinovna Bershadskaya. (Part 2 of 3. See MDV 370 and MDV 372) She talks about her family: her father was a barber and her mother was a seamstress. She left her village of Chernyotka at the age of 13 and moved to Bershad’ with her family. She talks about her earliest memories in Chernyotka and about the different occupations that Jews pursued in the village. In the village there were about fifteen Jewish families and there was no synagogue, so people gathered for prayer in private homes. They used to travel to Bershad’ to obtain kosher meat. She discusses Sabbath practices, and the celebration of Passover, Hanukkah, and other Jewish holidays in Chernyotka and Bershad’. The conversation moves to the war. She talks about life in the Bershad’ ghetto, and about the hunger in the ghetto. She recalls the liberation of the ghetto and how after the war, they went back to their house, but it was occupied by others. She then tells about Jewish food, cooking and weddings. The tape concludes with a segment of dialectological questions about the Yiddish language.

00:00:00 Bershadskaya talks about her family. Her mother was a seamstress and her father was a barber. She also touches upon her father's work. Bershadskaya grew up with two brothers and one sister.
00:02:11 Bershadskaya addresses her childhood memories of Chernyatka, including occupational structure. She then addresses prewar religious life in the village.
00:05:06 Bershadskaya speaks about her family's life before the war. She explains that her mother moved to Bershad, so her daughter could be married off to a Jew.
00:06:40 Bershadskaya speaks about prewar holiday celebration, including Sabbath and Passover. She mentions that her family bought matzos in Bershad and describes her family's Passover Seder.
00:10:35 Bershadskaya talks about Hanukkah celebrations before the war. She then discusses religious customs at home. Bershadskaya states that her family celebrated holidays in a rented room in her home town and attended synagogue services in Bershad.
00:13:45 Bershadskaya speaks about her life during World War II. They were imprisoned in the Bershad ghetto. Her childhood home burned down. Bershadskaya then describes daily life and violence in the ghetto. She describes how prisoners sold food in the market. Bershadskaya's father worked for a Christian and her brother sold the wood, his father chopped, in the market. Bershadskaya also describes the changing occupational forces, ranging from German to Romanian. She recalls a pogrom when the Germans returned to the ghetto, shortly before its liberation.
00:16:40 Bershadskaya talks about her liberation and remembers bombing of Bershad. She then talks about her life after the war. Her family returned to her house, which was occupied by Christian neighbors during the war. Bershadskaya studied at a teaching college. She describes how her family fixed up the house and sold soap in the market.
00:20:19 Bershadskaya talks about food customs and shares her recipe of mămăligă, as well as her mother's recipe of gefilte fish.
00:23:30 Bershadskaya talks about prewar traditional weddings in her home village.
00:26:40 Bershadskaya answers dialectological questions from the AHEYM Yiddish linguistic questionnaire.
00:38:34 End of recording.