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

 (09-010.37-F) -  Shelf Number: MDV 616

No streaming derivative is available.

Date: May 16, 2008

Participants: Tokar, Isaak Naftulovich. Interviewed by Dov-Ber Kerler, Jeffrey Veidlinger, Moisei Lemster.

Location recorded: Odesa, Odes'ka Oblast', Ukraine

Language: Yiddish, Russian

Culture Group: Jews, Yiddish-speakers, Ukrainians

 Recording Content:   

The tape is a continuation of a formal interview with Isaak (Itche) Naftulovich Tokar. (Part 2 of 3. See MDV 615 and MDV 617)

00:00:00 Tokar talks about contemporary Yiddish press.
00:06:57 Tokar provides personal information and talks about his family. In particular, he talks about his grandfather. His father served in the Imperial Russian Army and participated in revolutionary activities in 1905. His grandfather dressed him in girl’s clothing and sent him to Paris in order to evade punishment. He returned after two years and then served in the army during World War I, where he spent time in German captivity in Germany. His father’s profession was a painter, but he later owned a convenience goods store.
00:13:55 Tokar talks about life under Soviet occupation in 1939 and then the war years. He describes how the Germans set up a ghetto in 1942 and how people organized a resistance force. According to Tokar, more than one and a half thousand fighters were shot. Tokar was imprisoned with his younger brother and they managed to escape on bicycles. He explained how they escaped. They stopped in Byelitsa because his brother had to return to fix his bicycle. After Tokar found out that his mother would not let his brother leave again, he continued the escape by himself to his aunt’s house in Kharkiv. His brother was sent to the Lida ghetto and ultimately joined the partisans. Tokar reunited with his brother in 1944 and learned that his brother survived an attempted suicide and was flown through the front to a Russian hospital.
00:19:29 Tokar talk about his life during the war and his military service. He explains how he, together with his co-workers from a factory, evacuated from Kharkiv to the north Caucasus. He was drafted into the Red Army there and was sent to Crimea 21:00. He talks about a lost battle on Crimea and how he was wounded in March 1943.
00:23:19 Tokar talks about his education. He attended a Yiddish school for four years and then completed his education at a Polish school. After graduation, Tokar attended a professional school in Lida to become a locksmith. Tokar then worked at the Lida Footwear Factory. He was on vacation when the war broke out in 1941.
00:24:17 Tokar talks about his life during the war. He states that his parents and sister were shot on May 9, 1942. He then discusses prewar Jewish life in Zheludok and neighboring towns, including educational and political institutions, as well as sports clubs (Tarbut school, Poale Zion, Hashomer Hatzair, Mizrakhi, Algemeyne Tsiyonistn, Betar, Kholes Hatzair). He recalls enmities between Yiddishists and Hebraists.
00:29:45 Tokar talks about his education at a Yiddish school and his father’s cultural engagement as a school board member.
00:31:35 Tokar discusses prewar holiday celebration, in particular Purim. Tokar remembers modernized Purim celebrations. He then talks about prewar religious life. According to Tokar, more than one and a half thousand Jews lived in Zheludok. He recalls antisemitism before the war. He then talks about contemporary politics in Poland.
00:37:17 Tokar talks about his life after the war. Since he could not find work in his hometown Zheludok, he moved to Scucyn and got married there in 1954. In 1956, Tokar and his wife, a doctor, moved to Odesa, where his parents-in-law lived. He then talks about his wedding and his friends, who joined the partisans during the war and emigrated.
00:41:28 Tokar talks about his family. He raised a daughter who works as an accountant. He then talks about prewar cultural life, including libraries. He then talks about his contemporary work, leading a Yiddish language and history circle at the community center.
00:50:19 Tokar describes his military awards and decorations. He then talks about his life after the war. Although Tokar was trained as a locksmith, he could not work in his profession after the war. He attended courses in finances and worked as a finance inspector in Dushanbe* (Stalinabad). In Odesa, he worked at a factory and cooperative association. Tokar then talks about the monthly Sovietish Heimland and cultural life during the postwar Soviet period. He also addresses prewar Yiddish literature.
00:59:54 Tokar talks about his family, in particular his father. Tokar attended religious services on holidays with his father. His father was born in Zheludok.
01:01:23 End of recording.