Return to ATM Online Collections  > AHEYM: The Archive of Historical and Ethnographic Yiddish Memories  > Khmel’nyts’kyy

 (09-010.21-F) -  Shelf Number: MDV 464


All or part of this recording has been restricted from broad public access. For more information about access to this recording for research use, please contact and reference the accession number and shelf number.

Date: May 29, 2007

Participants: Kraidman, Mania Samuilovna. Interviewed by Dov-Ber Kerler, Moisei Lemster.

Location recorded: Khmel'nyts'kyy, Khmel’nyts’ka Oblast', Ukraine

Language: Yiddish, Russian

Culture Group: Jews, Yiddish-speakers, Ukrainians

 Recording Content:   

This recording consists of a formal interview with Mania Samuilovna Kraidman on May 29, 2007 in Khmel’nyts’kyy, Ukraine.

00:00:00 This tape consists of a formal interview with Mania Samuilovna Kraidman. In the beginning of the tape, a social worker and the research team try convince Kraidman to consent to be interviewed.
00:01:29 Once she agrees, the interview begins. Kraidman was born in 1923 in what was then western Poland. Sometime in the 1920s her family moved to Babruysk, Belarus, then in the Soviet Union. There she completed 10 grades in a Soviet Yiddish school, where she studied four languages: Yiddish, Russian, Belarusian, German. In 1939, this school was converted into a Russian-language institution. Kraidman also recalls the town’s Yiddish library, where she attended a reading of “Notre Dame” by Gogol’ in Yiddish. Kraidman also mentions other Yiddish authors she read for school, such as Dovid Bergelson.
00:08:55 Kraidman reads from the American Yiddish-language newspaper “Forverts”.
00:09:17 Kraidman’s father, Shmuel, worked as a brushmaker and was from the Poland/Belarus border area. He came to the USSR, according to Kraidman, to find work. She has two younger siblings: Yoysef and Luba, the latter of whom lives in Israel.
00:11:20 Kraidman moved to Khmel’nyts’kyy after the war. During the war she was evacuated to Uzbekistan, where she worked and took courses in accounting, enabling her to find work in Ukraine after the war.
00:12:50 Before the war, Kraidman spoke Yiddish with her family at home. During the evacuation, Kraidman switched to Russian, a language she reports speaking with Jewish workers from Odessa who were also evacuated to the same area.
00:13:48 Kraidman married a man named Mikhail in 1945 in Zhytomyr. Although he spoke some Yiddish, they spoke only in Russian to each other. Her husband’s uncle lived in America, but they lost contact with that branch of the family when he died.
00:15:20 After the war, Jews in Khmel’nyts’kyy spoke only Russian at work/in public spaces, speaking Yiddish at home, if at all. Today, Kraidman reads and translates Forverts articles for other community members in Hesed (elderly welfare organization). She also shares her attitudes towards different dialects of Yiddish.
00:18:34 Kraidman shares her few memories of the Yiddish school curriculum, remembering that they sang revolutionary songs in Russian.
00:20:27 Kraidman mentions how her grandparents stayed in Poland, when her immediate family moved to the Soviet Union. Kraidman reports that she has a large family spread throughout the world; an aunt of hers also moved to the Soviet Union before the war; her children now live in the United States.
00:21:24 Kraidman speaks about her work as an accountant and her two sons. Kraidman states that she can read and write in Yiddish fluently, but finds speaking difficult. She takes pride in the fact that she recently translated Yiddish-language archival material for a scholar from Kam’’yanets’ Podil’s’skyy for his dissertation research.
00:23:49 Kraidman briefly speaks about the liquidation of Yiddish organizations in Babruysk in 1939. She also talks about the town’s prewar Yiddish library in Babruysk and how she helped Hesed order and organize their Yiddish books today, despite the fact that no one reads them.
00:26:02 Kraidman mentions that there was a person who taught Yiddish at Hesed recently, but this was a class which only emphasized speaking; reading and writing were taught in the Cyrillic alphabet.
00:27:11 Kraidman briefly discusses the Yiddish theater in Babruysk. Her parents would go to the theater, while the children would stay at home. Nevertheless, she remembers that the plays would be translations of world literature into Yiddish.
00:28:19 Kraidman recalls anti-religious propaganda that was promoted in school and at home. The only time she heard of anyone going to synagogue, in fact, was when her mother went to services in Zhytomyr in recent years.
00:30:13 During and after evacuation, Kraidman spoke to her mother in Russian. Her mother would answer in Yiddish, as she never learned to speak Russian well.
00:31:01 Kraidman remembers the Yiddish journal “Sovetish Heymland” and recalls that its chief editor, Arn Vergelis, was a classmate of her husband in Lyubar, Ukraine. She also relates how Vergelis made friends with the famous poet Yevtushenko.
00:34:33 When asked if she remembers any stories or songs from her childhood, Kraidman replies that life was too hard for such things.
00:36:27 Kraidman shows the researchers an article from a Yiddish newspaper about Vergelis and Yevtushenko. The research team photographs Kraidman reading the Forverts.
00:39:53 End of Recording.