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 (09-010.21-F) -  Shelf Number: MDV 465

No streaming derivative is available.

Date: May 29, 2007

Participants: Gaiviker, Naum Samoilovich; Gaiviker, Sonya Volkovna. 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:   

The beginning of this recording contains silent scenes of Khmel'nyts'kyy from the research team’s car, an administrative office, and a woman singing "Itsik hot shoyn khasene gehat", Professor Kerler singing and then speaking Yiddish with Dr. Lemster, and a discussion of the contemporary community and its past.

The tape cuts to a formal interview with Naum (Nekhemye) Samoilovich Gaiviker (b. 1912). The researchers begin an interview with Sonya (Sosye) Volkovna Gaiviker (née Sosne) who was born in 1920 in Khmel’nyts’kyy. (Part 1 of 2. See MDV 466).

00:00:00 This tape begins with silent scenes of Khmel’nyts’kyy from the research team’s car.
00:04:12 The tape cuts to an administrative office belonging to Hesed (elderly welfare organization) and/or Chabad.
00:04:50 The tape then cuts to Liudmila Makedonskaya, a Hesed administrative assistant, singing "Itsik hot shoyn khasene gehat". She reports that although she cannot speak in Yiddish, she understands everything. She sings a fragment of “Lekhayem briderlekh.” She also directs researchers to other informants and to the local synagogue.
00:07:31 The tape cuts to Professor Kerler singing and then speaking Yiddish with Dr. Lemster at the request of another Hesed employee. Liudmila Makedonskaya returns and talks about her grandmother. She also mentions that her grandson learns Hebrew in the local Jewish school and comments on the linguistic and demographic composition of the contemporary community. Yiddish was once taught in the town’s Jewish school, but in Cyrillic characters. The woman states that she has three children and seven grandchildren, some of whom live in Israel. There is a debate among the employees as to who speaks Yiddish in the town and to whom to send the team. Dr. Lemster suggests that there may be Jews in the town unconnected to Hesed, but Liudmilia assures him that those who are not connected to Hesed are likewise unconnected to Jewishness [evreistvo].
00:16:38 The social worker reads the Yiddish poem “Yidn redn yidish.” by Mani Leib which was reprinted in a recent local paper.
00:17:52 The tape cuts to a formal interview with Naum (Nekhemye) Samoilovich Gaiviker (b. 1912), who immediately begins telling stories of his experiences on the front during the war.
00:21:34 Gaiviker worked for sixty-plus years as a barber, like his father before him. He has been retired for thirty-plus years and lives with his wife Sonya Volkovna Gaiviker (née Sosne). Gaiviker received a traditional “kheyder” (religious school for boys) education, but no longer remembers how to pray properly.
00:26:24 Gaiviker shares basic biographical information about himself and his family. He was named after his grandfather Nekhemye, who served in the Tsarist army as a cantonist. His parents were named Shmil and Sosye. His mother died when he was six years old. Gaiviker also discusses his contemporary economic and health troubles.
00:29:28 Gaiviker studied in two “kheyder” schools with his teachers Motl der Shvartser (Motl the Black), and Khayim Mezhibuzher (Khayim from Medzhibozh). In his youth, Gaiviker would go to synagogue every day with his father, then eat and then go off to work and/or study. His father re-married and had several more children. Gaiviker’s step-mother was good and kind, but Gaiviker himself admits that he was a wild youth, who loved to party and listen to music, especially jazz.
00:34:13 In 1930, Gaiviker reports, he was a brave young man [“a smeler yot”] and wanted to move to a big city, and so he left for Moscow. He was frightened when he arrived, but he had no ticket back home, so he stayed and worked in various barbershops.
00:35:50 Gaiviker describes the hardships of military life and service before the Great Patriotic War.
00:37:04 In Moscow, Gaiviker was arrested after a quarrel with his boss, but received a lighter sentence because the prison warden was also Jewish. During the famine in 1933, Gaiviker, along with other ex-convicts, were kicked out of Moscow. When Gaiviker returned to Khmel’nyts’kyy, there was no work to be found, only hunger.
00:39:47 Sonya Gaiviker also speaks about her husband’s youth, telling the story of a pogrom he lived through when he was six years old. Gaiviker adds that anti-Semitic violence was pervasive in his youth.
00:42:37 Gaiviker reminisces about his childhood years in kheyder, speaking about his teachers and their families, the forms of discipline used when he would misbehave, and the pranks pulled on the teachers by the students. Gaiviker also shares his memories of the famous cantors who visited the town when he was younger.
00:45:57 Gaiviker also speaks about his years in the cavalry and the hardships of waking up early in the winter cold and taking care of the horses.
00:47:33 Gaiviker briefly describes celebrations and observances of Jewish holidays in his childhood home.
00:49:04 The researchers begin an interview with Sonya (Sosye) Volkovna Gaiviker (née Sosne) who was born in 1920 in Khmel’nyts’kyy. She contrasts her youth with that of her husband’s, stating that she had a rich family with many animals and a big courtyard. They had plenty of food, experienced no famine and helped others in need. Her father, Volf, was killed in 1942 with her entire family in Khmel’nyts’kyy. Before the war, her father worked with horses. Her mother, Khone (b. Khmel’nyts’kyy, 1883) would bake twice a week in their oven. On holidays the whole family would come together.
00:53:34 Sonya Gaiviker describes how her family collectively prepared the house for peysekh (Passover) and descirbes the “kusher” (kosher) home in which she grew up.
00:55:10 Her mother taught her how to cook and bake, and she shares a recipe for “eysik fleysh” (sweet and sour meat).
00:56:25 She shares her recipe for “gefilte fish” as well as how to prepare other foods, including meat with plums, and cookies. According to Sonya, everyone loves her food, especially her great-grandchildren.
01:00:22 She briefly discusses contemporary poltical and economic problems in Ukraine.
01:00:54 Sonya states that she completed ten years of Yiddish-language education before the war.Cities and towns mentioned on this tape: Khmel’nyts’kyy (Proskurov), Medzhibozh, Stalingrad, Kharkiv, Kaliningrad, Moscow.
01:01:48 End of Recording.