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 (09-007.05-F) -  Shelf Number: MDV 183

No streaming derivative is available.

Date: June 7, 2006

Participants: Leibelman, Fira Nutovna. Interviewed by Dov-Ber Kerler, Moisei Lemster.

Location recorded: Dubăsari, Transnistria, Moldova

Language: Yiddish

Culture Group: Jews, Yiddish-speakers, Moldovans

 Recording Content:   

This recording is a formal interview with Fira (Ester) Nutovna Leibelman, born 1922 in Libshen. (Part 1 of 2. See MDV 184)

00:00:00 Leibelman, nee Shteynberg, talks about a book Moldavian ghettos, she was interviewed for. She then provides personal information and talks about her family. Her grandfather worked in a quarry. Her mother was born in 3:25, Yampol region, Ukraine. Her mother married her father, who already a son and a daughter. Her father worked as 6:00.
00:06:41 Leibelman talks about her life during the war. According to her, The Soviets liberated Bessarabia in 1940. When World War II broke in the region in 1941, her family fled. In 1942, Leibelman explains, the Germans caught up with them and imprisoned her, together with her sister and parents, in the Obodovka ghetto, undergoing selection for work. She explains how the selection took place at a horse stable. Leibelman was taken to forced labor twelve kilometers away from the camp. Every day, she brought back food for her family in the Bershad ghetto. Leibelman maintains that she was fortunate to receive sewing working assignments, whereas other prisoners worked in the quarry.
00:12:01 Leibelman talks about Jewish life in her hometown Libshen, Rezina district, where three Jewish families lived. She then discusses her education. Leibelman attended a Romanian school and then moved to Rezina in 1932, continuing her studies at another Romanian school and lived with her aunt. She remembers the local religious teacher (melamed). Leibelman talks about prewar Jewish life in Rezina, in particular recalls great poverty. She then discusses her aunt’s traditional wedding. Her aunt’s daughter lives in America. She then remembers parts of a wedding song. Leibelman returns to talking about her hometown and antisemitism in the 1930s during Easter.
00:25:07 Leibelman discusses holiday celebrations at home, in particular Passover. She remembers that her family parodied the Four Questions. Leibelman then describes her house, before she continues discussing holiday celebrations. Her family went to the neighboring village Glinjeni, with a bigger Jewish population, and celebrated in private homes. Every Sabbath, Leibelman walked to Libshen from Rezina.
00:34:10 Leibelman talks about her family and life after the war. She had to take care of her mother after the war for twenty-three years. Leibelman worked as an assistant to the director at a draft office in Dubăsari. Leibelman and her husband moved to Dubăsari in 1956. She explains how her husband could not continue working at a school in Rezina due to flooding.
00:38:12 Leibelman discusses her childhood memories. She played with Jewish and non-Jewish friends. Leibelman recalls how her family would not allow her to play with non-Jewish children in the neighboring village. She then talks about food customs for holiday celebrations, before she addresses her mother’s observance and story-telling from the Tkhine (Yiddish-language prayer book) on Sabbath. Her family bought the kosher meat in Rezina. Her mother was a seamstress.
00:45:15 Leibelman talks about prewar political and cultural life in Rezina. She borrowed Yiddish books from a library in Rezina. She then recites a Romanian and a Yiddish/Russian song (koyft zhe papirosn), she recalls from the ghetto.
00:52:18 Leibelman talks about prewar Yiddish culture and theater. She also recalls non-Jews who spoke Yiddish, in particular a Russian friend.
00:57:38 Leibelman talks about holiday celebration and her husband Yurkl (Yankl, Yasha), born 1920 in Rezina, who worked as a mechanic. She also recalls stories about Hershele Ostropoler.
01:02:16 End of recording.