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 (09-007.04-F) -  Shelf Number: MDV 135

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Date: December 19, 2005

Participants: Roif, Shabs Abramovich. Interviewed by Dov-Ber Kerler.

Location recorded: Chișinău, Chișinău Municipality, Moldova

Language: Yiddish, Russian

Culture Group: Jews, Yiddish-speakers, Moldovans

 Recording Content:   

This recording is a formal interview with Shabs (Shobse, Shobse-Tsvi) Abramovich Roif, born 1929 in Duruitoarea, Moldova. (Part 1 of 4. See MDV 136, MDV 137, and MDV 138)

00:00:00 Roif talks about contemporary Jewish life and financial support. He also addresses his work in community service and the relationship between the community and the Romanian state.
00:08:26 Roif speaks about the fate of regional communities during World War II. He then addresses his life during the war in the Obodivka ghetto. Roif explains how he was saved by a priest.
00:12:19 Roif speaks about contemporary Jewish life and presentations about life during World War II. He then speaks about his family and briefly touches upon his life during the war. Roif's father was an American citizen and worked there on a cow farm and sold products in the city for six years, until 1929. Roif grew up with one brother and his father was born in Pererita, Moldova. Roif's mother was also born in Duruitoarea. Roif explains that his family was well off with his father's earnings in America and they ran a family homestead farm.
00:18:51 Roif speaks about prewar Jewish life in Duruitoarea, where Jews lived in a colony spread across three villages. He mentions that his father supported the village synagogue. According to him, 160 families lives there.
00:19:54 Roif speaks about his family's life at the beginning of the war, when the Romanians occupied Duruitoarea. Roif recalls shootings upon arrival of the Romanian army and explains how his escaped with the help of a priest in 1940. He then describes how he went through various camps, including a camp, located twenty-five kilometers from Rîşcani (for three months), a cowshed in Transnistria (for two years), a cowshed on the Dubyna state farm as forced laborer (for two years). Roif remembers looting, but also mentions a Romanian soldier who brought food on a weekly basis to the first ghetto. Roif then describes the living conditions during the winter, as well as diseases in the cowshed. He then addresses life and starvation on the state farm.
00:29:50 Roif speaks about Jewish collaborators.
00:31:31 Roif speaks about his life in the Dubyna forced labor camp between 1942 and 1944. He describes religious life and his bar mitzvah in the camp. Roif mentions that he visited the camp and addresses memorialization.
00:38:38 Roif speaks about his family's fate during the war. His family was also imprisoned in the Dubyna forced labor camp. Roif remembers how his father snuck out from the camp at night to provide food for his family.
00:39:55 Roif describes the living conditions in the forced labor camp and recalls singing and song writing.
00:42:19 Roif provides personal information. He then speaks about prewar Jewish life in Duruitoarea, as well as his education. Roif attended a Romanian school and religious school (cheder), which was located in the local synagogue. Roif learned in cheder, except for the winter months, until the outbreak of World War II.
00:48:28 Roif addresses prominent Yiddish writers, including Yekhiel Shraybman, Yankl Yakir and Vaysman, and their persecution during the postwar Soviet period. His father subscribed to "Sovietish Heymland." Roif speaks about his encounters with Yakir and Vaysman.
00:58:28 Roif discusses his childhood memories. He explains how his father arranged transportation to the neighboring village, where Shraybman lived, to invite him for Sabbath celebrations at Roif's home. He then addresses his father's financial support of the local community and describes prewar Jewish life and occupational structure in Duruitoarea.
01:02:21 End of recording.