David P. Boder Interviews Clara Neiman; September 12, 1946; Hénonville, France

  • David Boder: [In English] France, September the 12th, 1946, at Hénonville, about fifty kilometers from Paris. A Kibbutz in a wonderful countryside, in an old castle, for displaced Jews. The interviewee is Mrs. Clara Neiman, a woman who was converted, I understand, to Judaism. And so, Mrs. Neiman.
  • David Boder: [In Russian] tell us again what is your full name and . . .
  • Clara Neiman: Nei—
  • David Boder: [Laughingly] Tell us also how old you are.
  • Clara Neiman: Neiman.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Clara Neiman: Neiman, Clara.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Clara Neiman: Twenty-five years.
  • David Boder: Twenty-five years.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes.
  • David Boder: And where were you born Mrs. Neiman?
  • Clara Neiman: In the city of Saratov.
  • David Boder: So what are you being called by your father's name [the polite Russian form of addressing people]?
  • Clara Neiman: Adamovna [meaning her father's name was Adam].
  • David Boder: Clara Adamova?
  • Clara Neiman: Yes.
  • David Boder: Clara Adamova, you were born in Saratov?
  • Clara Neiman: Yes.
  • David Boder: And you were a large family.
  • Clara Neiman: A large.
  • David Boder: A large family, yes.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes.
  • David Boder: And how many people? The father, mother . . .
  • Clara Neiman: Seven we were. No, no, ten, together with father and mother.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: Seven children.
  • David Boder: Seven children and . . .
  • Clara Neiman: And father and mother.
  • David Boder: Then that makes it nine.
  • Clara Neiman: Nine, yes. There was one more who died, and so . . .
  • David Boder: Oh well, altogether your mother had eight children.
  • Clara Neiman: Eight [few words not clear].
  • David Boder: Now tell me where . . . well, what was the religion of your parents?
  • Clara Neiman: They were Russian [as it often happens, she identifies the Greek Orthodox religion with the Russian nationality]. And then they went over to Judaism.
  • David Boder: [With lasting tone of surprise] Your parents, too?
  • Clara Neiman: The parents. Afterwards we became Jews.
  • David Boder: I understand. But your parents, too, had become Jews?
  • Clara Neiman: Had become Jews.
  • David Boder: How did that happen?
  • Clara Neiman: [Words not clear.] Very simple, they adopted [changed to] the Jewish religion.
  • David Boder: Your parents?
  • Clara Neiman: Yes, my parents. They have left already for Palestine.
  • David Boder: Your parents are already in Palestine?
  • Clara Neiman: In Palestine. Yes.
  • David Boder: Now tell me. How many years ago did your parents go over to Judaism?
  • Clara Neiman: Approximately already twenty years.
  • David Boder: And they lived all that time in Russia?
  • Clara Neiman: No, not in Russia. They lived in Baku, in Gruziya [Georgia].
  • David Boder: Oh.
  • Clara Neiman: In Gruziya, in the Caucasus.
  • David Boder: In the Caucasus.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes, in the Caucasus.
  • David Boder: Now then, your father and mother both were born Russians?
  • Clara Neiman: Born Russians, who went over [to Judaism], but we . . . I still was not . . . but the other already [were born in Jewish faith]. I and my older brother, already deceased, were not born [as Jews]. A year of two before or later.
  • David Boder: And your mother.
  • Clara Neiman: Mother was just like a Jewess of course.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes.
  • David Boder: When you were born?
  • Clara Neiman: When I was born [she apparently is somewhat confused]. Maybe a year or two earlier [she had become a Jewess].
  • David Boder: So, afterwards. Then you already were not christened?
  • Clara Neiman: No, no, us not. We were already like Jews.
  • David Boder: And . . . could you possibly explain why your parents decided to adopt Judaism?
  • Clara Neiman: How come? Well, they . . . they were not Russian. They were not Russians [meaning not Greek Orthodox]. They were Sectarians [dissenters from the official Russian Church].
  • David Boder: Oh. They were Sectarians.
  • Clara Neiman: Of a different sect.
  • David Boder: To which sect did they belong?
  • Clara Neiman: To another sect.
  • David Boder: Yes, of course.
  • Clara Neiman: They were Molokans [see note at end of chapter].
  • David Boder: Then you come from the Molokans!
  • Clara Neiman: Yes.
  • David Boder: So. And then?
  • Clara Neiman: And then they decided to change to Judaism, that this was already the real [right] religion. The first changed to Sabbatarianism and afterwards became real Jews.
  • David Boder: So they changed first to Sabbatarianism?
  • Clara Neiman: No [?]. They first just observed the Sabbath and then adopted all the Jewish laws.
  • David Boder: So were there many such people in that locality?
  • Clara Neiman: Seventy people took it on at that time, seventy . . . seventy families.
  • David Boder: Seventy families adopted Judaism.
  • Clara Neiman: Seventy families adopted Judaism when our mother was already converted[?].
  • David Boder: Already twenty years ago?
  • Clara Neiman: Already twenty years ago. And many of our gers [strangers, Christians converted to Judaism] are already there, in Palestine. They lived in Tel-Aviv. They left in the year '24.
  • David Boder: They left in the year '24?
  • Clara Neiman: Left in the year '24. Tel-Aviv was not yet completed.
  • David Boder: And how did they get out at that time from Russia to Palestine?
  • Clara Neiman: They . . . they crossed the black border [crossed illegally].
  • David Boder: The black border.
  • Clara Neiman: The black border.
  • David Boder: Now tell me Clara Adamorna, where were you when the war started?
  • Clara Neiman: We were in Gruziya in the city of Kutais.
  • David Boder: But you [your folks] are not Caucasians [not born in the Caucasus region].
  • Clara Neiman: No, no. We moved from the city of Saratov where we were born.
  • David Boder: You were born in Saratov.
  • Clara Neiman: We moved. The children were born already in the Ukraine. We lived also in the Ukraine.
  • David Boder: Then how did you get to Gruziya?
  • Clara Neiman: To Gruziya we got still before the war. We arrived there about five [?] years before the war.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: Before the war. And then we were all the time in Gruziya. Already twenty five years that we got there. Still before the war. [Her time data are somewhat confused.]
  • David Boder: And how did you decide . . . Why did you decide to move to Gruziya?
  • Clara Neiman: It was very difficult to live in Russia.
  • David Boder: For whom?
  • Clara Neiman: In general for us it was very hard to live.
  • David Boder: And in Gruziya?
  • Clara Neiman: We were unable to observe properly Judaism. It was impossible to observe one's religion, and mother had established by correspondence [?] that we had acquaintances there who had gone over [to Judaism]. So we moved to Gruziya.
  • David Boder: Aha. And the Soviets? Did they permit you to move to Gruziya?
  • Clara Neiman: Nothing. They had nothing against that.
  • David Boder: Now tell me. But Gruziya, too, belongs to the Soviets.
  • Clara Neiman: Gruziya belongs to the Soviets, but there was more freedom, life was more comfortable. There was [no] shortage.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: Clothes were very cheap. It was better . . . better to live.
  • David Boder: At any rate it was better to live.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes.
  • David Boder: And you, what were you there? Peasants?
  • Clara Neiman: I worked in a knitting shop [Jersey]. Father also worked in a factory. The brothers also worked in factories [few words not clear].
  • David Boder: All of you worked.
  • Clara Neiman: My sister is now here, too. Her family is here, too. My husband . . .
  • David Boder: Your sister is here, too?
  • Clara Neiman: We were unable to leave together illegally, because of the children. They had a child and I a little boy.
  • David Boder: So. So you . . .
  • Clara Neiman: And we haven't left yet.
  • David Boder: Oh, you mean you couldn't go illegally to Palestine?
  • Clara Neiman: We couldn't. Because mother went illegally with father, a brother and already a grown up sister.
  • David Boder: They are in Tel-Aviv?
  • Clara Neiman: Yes. They live already in Tel-Aviv. Already a month that they live in Tel-Aviv, liberated, in freedom.
  • David Boder: Why do you say that they were liberated? Were they held . . .
  • Clara Neiman: They were in a lager.
  • David Boder: Aha. And afterwards. they were not free.
  • Clara Neiman: They had a very hard time. They were even without water for three days.
  • David Boder: Hm. Now tell me. Speak a bit in this direction [of the microphone].
  • Clara Neiman: Yes, yes, yes. So . . .
  • David Boder: So. Now tell me, when the war started you were in Kutais.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes. In the city of Kutais.
  • David Boder: Now tell me . . .
  • Clara Neiman: A big Jewish city.
  • David Boder: [Astonished] A big Jewish city.
  • Clara Neiman: A Jewish city. There were altogether seventy [?] synagogues. That's how big a city it was.
  • David Boder: In Kutais?
  • Clara Neiman: Yes.
  • David Boder: How come?
  • Clara Neiman: It was very big . . . of course, a very big city. It's a Jewish city. [Footnote: This is of course incorrect. But having had a more liberal government and considering the advanced of the Germans, the Caucasus in general may have had a large influx of Jewish refugees, especially in the cities located near the Turkish border.]
  • David Boder: Now tell me, the Jews there were Russian Jews?
  • Clara Neiman: [Word not clear; sound like Proskiri] Gruziyan Jews. There were various Jewish nations [adjective not clear], very pious Jews. All the synagogues were full.
  • David Boder: In Kutais?
  • Clara Neiman: In Kutais. Afterwards we left for Russia.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Clara Neiman: In Russia it was very difficult to observe religion.
  • David Boder: In Russia with religion . . .
  • Clara Neiman: [Sounds like: For Jews] it was very difficult.[ A wisper, not clear.] Everything was prohibited. Later one it [religious observance] became already open, since it [the four freedoms] was reported in the newpapers from England, from America, that they demand it. [Her rapid speech begins to telescope the sentences.] And so before the war . . . one may say after the war . . . Before the war it was harder . . . At any rate we did not adjust[?] there any more. People travelled . . .
  • David Boder: Good. When the war started you were in Kutais.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes.
  • David Boder: Now, tell me in detail where and how all these things happened. Where were you during the war, and did you finally get to Paris? Don't hurry. We have time.
  • Clara Neiman: [With a chuckle] Aha, good. It was like this. When we were in Kutais, I married a Pole.
  • David Boder: A Pole?
  • Clara Neiman: A Pole, a Jew. My husband is a collect Jew. [Possibly one who belongs to a collective farm. I am not sure of the meaning of this apparently makeshift word.]
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: And afterwards we decided to travel to Poland.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Clara Neiman: I left for Poland, while mother and sister remained there.
  • David Boder: In what city?
  • Clara Neiman: In the city of Kutais. The sister lived there.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: The sister lived there. The sister, too, got married in Kutais.
  • David Boder: And how did the Polish Jews get to Gruziya?
  • Clara Neiman: They were in Gruziya. Very many [of them] were in Gruziya.
  • David Boder: Polish Jews.
  • Clara Neiman: Polish Jews, very many. they fled from the war.
  • David Boder: Oh, this was already . . .
  • Clara Neiman: This was already at the time of the slaughter [massacres].
  • David Boder: So. They evacuated themselves . . .
  • Clara Neiman: Yes.
  • David Boder: . . . and went to Gruziya?
  • Clara Neiman: The third year since my marriage.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: Three years had passed.
  • David Boder: So. So. And he was an evacuee.
  • Clara Neiman: He was an evacusee, yes. There were many such . . .
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: So we put up the Khupe [Hebrew: canape under which bride and groom stand during the Judaic marriage ceremony] there in the city of Kutais.
  • David Boder: You put up what?
  • Clara Neiman: Khupe. We made a wedding like Jews.
  • David Boder: So. Nu.
  • Clara Neiman: Afterwards we decided to leave for Poland, afterwards already upon the termination of the war.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: During the first year after termination of the war we decided to depart for Poland.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: And we departed, with my husband, for Poland. We spent there, let us say, five months. Afterwards mother arrived. I sent word for her to come. I wrote to her, between lines, because it was not possible to write [openly] . . .
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: . . . that mother should come, that possibly there will be a chance to get to Palestine.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: Only I wrote to her in a manner that the letter should reach her. You of course understand.
  • David Boder: So that the letter should pass [Soviet] censorship.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes. And so finally mother arrived among us in Russia [?]
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: Mother arrived . . .
  • David Boder: Where to? Where did you live, in Poland?
  • Clara Neiman: In Poland, in the city of Lodz.
  • David Boder: [With surprise] In Lodz?
  • Clara Neiman: Petrokovska [street] 23.
  • David Boder: To the city of Lodz.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes. On the main street, Petrokovska 23 . . .
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: . . . we lived.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: Well, we lived -- nothing to complain about. My husband is a tailor. We started to earn well. But still there was great anti-Semitism, and they started to kill a lot of Jews. In our time there were . . . there took place a great number of [word not clear] assaults.
  • David Boder: Pogroms?
  • Clara Neiman: Pogroms.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: So I wrote my mother a letter, so she came . . . Come winter, they decided to leave. My sister, my mother, the whole family left.
  • David Boder: They came to [word not clear].
  • Clara Neiman: No, to us.
  • David Boder: From Kutais?
  • Clara Neiman: A city in Gruziya. They arrived in Poland, and afterwards they lived with me for three months. They wintered through the winter.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Clara Neiman: We were registered with a Jewish faction, of course with a Jewish organization with whom we now have arrived.
  • David Boder: Agudah?
  • Clara Neiman: Agudah.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: In Lodz. And we decided . . . and afterwards they accepted us. They registered us first. And afterwards it was impossible to travel in the winter. It was, of course, difficult to travel with children.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: And afterwards in March . . . in the month of April we already departed.
  • David Boder: And how did the father come [join] you?
  • Clara Neiman: And the father had arrived when we had written.
  • David Boder: Together with mother?
  • Clara Neiman: Yes.
  • David Boder: Oh.
  • Clara Neiman: Together with mother and the family. And the sister, too, with the family.
  • David Boder: How come? Did they come like Poles or like [word not clear]?
  • Clara Neiman: Well, they . . . my husband, too, [came] like a Pole.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Clara Neiman: My husband, too, as a [word not clear, possible equivalent: a Polish citizen]. And as to mother it was permitted [as] announced in the newspaper that one who has in Poland a son or a daughter may leave [for Poland].
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Clara Neiman: And mother. [She for some reason fails in general to mention the father], mother has remained alone [ in Kutais] and as an old person.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: My two brothers now study in the Yeshiva [school of higher Judaic learning]. They have decided to go to America. They study in a Yeshiva in Luxenben, in the city of Luxenben.
  • David Boder: Luxemben?
  • Clara Neiman: Luxenben, yes.
  • David Boder: They are now in Luxemburg?
  • Clara Neiman: They study in the Yeshiva. They study.
  • David Boder: The younger . . . [?]
  • Clara Neiman: The youngest . . . the youngest two brothers. Yes.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: But they have not left yet.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: And that is how we got here. We live here already five months. Thank God.
  • David Boder: That means you have two brothers, younger ones, studying in the Luxemburg Yeshiva.
  • Clara Neiman: [They talk in unison] . . . two brothers, younger ones, in Luxemburg Yeshiva.
  • David Boder: Now where is that, in Lux- . . . in Luxemburg?
  • Clara Neiman: In Luxemburg there is a large Yeshiva, and they study there.
  • David Boder: Why do you say that they intend to go to America?
  • Clara Neiman: They already . . . they had already the visa in their hands, but for some reason they have not left yet. Only one of them [of the students?] had a chance to leave. Meanwhile we had contact this week . . . last week, with two people [from there,] and they told us that they [the brothers] have not left yet, and that we should write letters to them.
  • David Boder: Aha. Now then . . .
  • Clara Neiman: They don't know yet that our mother has left.
  • David Boder: Aha. They don't know yet about your mother?
  • Clara Neiman: No, nothing.
  • David Boder: And you, have you received letters already?
  • Clara Neiman: No, we have received nothing from mother. Why she does not write I don't know. But those who have left on that steamer with mother write that everything is very well, that they are fairing very well in Tel Aviv, and that some of them, the young people, have joined a Kibbutz, while some have remained in [word not clear].
  • David Boder: Now tell me, you don't know yet that your parents have reached Palestine?
  • Clara Neiman: They . . . we know. It was reported . . . [sounds like: the Czechs] have reported that [of] the steamer which has arrived at [name not clear, posssibly a port on Cyprus] they have set free nearly all. Some of them left for Tel-Aviv, and some remained at [name not clear].
  • David Boder: So. But from your mother . . .
  • Clara Neiman: But from our mother we have heard nothing.
  • David Boder: And from your father you have received nothing [no word].
  • Clara Neiman: No, nothing.
  • David Boder: Aha. Now tell me this. During the war you were in Kutais?
  • Clara Neiman: In the city of Kutais.
  • David Boder: And the war did not reach it?
  • Clara Neiman: There were twice strong bombardments, only two times. There was no war [there].
  • David Boder: So, but . . .
  • Clara Neiman: The war was about twenty five . . . [corrects] hundred twenty five kilometers away [word not clear]. And afterwards they were driven back.
  • David Boder: Aha. Now with whom are you here in Hénonville? With your husband?
  • Clara Neiman: With my husband and baby.
  • David Boder: With one baby. That is your family.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes.
  • David Boder: So. Now tell me how do you live here. You have a separate room for your family.
  • Clara Neiman: A separate [room]. Everything is fine.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: We live, thank God, well. There is food, there is drink, cleanliness. Everything one may say is fine.
  • David Boder: Now tell me. You say that in your locality were . . . you were in Saratov or Samara?
  • Clara Neiman: In Saratov.
  • David Boder: Yes, in Saratov.
  • Clara Neiman: It's not very . . . yes, in Russia
  • David Boder: So. And there was a large number of "Russians" who have become Jews?
  • Clara Neiman: Yes. But they, too, have departed from here. They do not remain there.
  • David Boder: So. And who were your rabbis?
  • Clara Neiman: In Saratov there were many Jews.
  • David Boder: So.
  • Clara Neiman: Our mother . . . mother's own sister lived in Saratov in the city of Saratov. Through her she became acquainted with Jews in general, and so she decided to go to Judaism. [Consistently it is the mother, not the father or the parents].
  • David Boder: She was not originally married to a Jew?
  • Clara Neiman: Mama? No, no. No, no.
  • David Boder: And your father was then a pure Russian.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes, yes. No, not a pure [Greek Orthodox]. They were sectarians. that is why they got into [words not clear]. They were digging [debating, urging, hesitating] digging, digging, and decided to go over, to adopt the Jewish religion, because it is proper to have this belief, not the belief they had before.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Clara Neiman: And so they went over.
  • David Boder: Now. And you speak Yiddish, too?
  • Clara Neiman: [From here the dialogue proceeds in Yiddish, which she speaks beautifully.] Yes, I speak Yiddish.
  • David Boder: [Wondering] You speak Yiddish?
  • Clara Neiman: Yes, I speak Yiddish.
  • David Boder: Where did you learn Yiddish?
  • Clara Neiman: I? When did I learn it? When we lived . . . when we left Russia and lived in a Jewish city.
  • David Boder: Where?
  • Clara Neiman: In the Ukraine. In the Ukraine.
  • David Boder: In the Ukraine. In what city was that?
  • Clara Neiman: [In Russian] In the city of Kamenets Podolsk. The city Kamenets.
  • David Boder: Kamenets Pololsk.
  • Clara Neiman: Podolsk. [In Yiddish] Not far from Kamenets . . . [word not clear]
  • David Boder: And here . . . with the child you talk what?
  • Clara Neiman: Russian . . . but I want him to learn to speak Yiddish.
  • David Boder: Nu . . .
  • Clara Neiman: [With laughter] Yes.
  • David Boder: Aha. And your husband? What does your husband do?
  • Clara Neiman: He is a tailor. [Sentence not clear; she speaks exceptionally fast.]
  • David Boder: Can you read Hebrew? Can you pray [read from prayer book]?
  • Clara Neiman: Hebrew? No. I pray in Russian, the translation, one side Hebrew one side Russian, the translation.
  • David Boder: What do you have, a prayer book with a translation?
  • Clara Neiman: A prayer book with a translation.
  • David Boder: Oh. And [words not clear].
  • Clara Neiman: And the whole Torah [Bible], too, [word not clear]. I have a translation of the whole Torah.
  • David Boder: You have a translataion.
  • Clara Neiman: I read it to him [husband?], too, But I have to speak Yiddish it is proper that I speak Yiddish.
  • David Boder: Now. And when do you think you will be in Eretz Yisroeil?
  • Clara Neiman: Alevay [may it only be so], that is not known. [Laughter.] Alevay, as soon as possible. We want it as soon as possible, but . . .
  • David Boder: And your family . . . your father and mother got there [to Palestine] illegally?
  • Clara Neiman: [In a whisper] Not legally.
  • David Boder: How did they go? What did they have? A ship, or how?
  • Clara Neiman: Yes. They went to the city of . . .
  • David Boder: Marseilles?
  • Clara Neiman: Marseilles, Marseilles.
  • David Boder: From Marseilles?
  • Clara Neiman: Yes. There they waited for a week's time, and then they departed [whispers some words not clear]. There were a lot of people, a large group.
  • David Boder: Did all get into Palestine?
  • Clara Neiman: Yes. There were Zionists. There were a lot of people.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Clara Neiman: They waited there for a week's time, and then they departed.
  • David Boder: Now tell me . . .
  • Clara Neiman: Yes.
  • David Boder: When did you actually leave Russia? In what year?
  • Clara Neiman: I left -- I will tell you -- I [hope I] have not forgotten. I left . . . it is already . . . you mean from Russia to Gruziya.
  • David Boder: No. When did you leave Gruziya for Poland?
  • Clara Neiman: Oh, for Poland. That trip we made already a year ago. It is already a year.
  • David Boder: Already a year. Well. First you intended . . .
  • Clara Neiman: [Interrupting] No, no, no, we went first [few words not clear].
  • David Boder: First you thought to remain in Poland.
  • Clara Neiman: No. We did not think so. We specially were going away from [word not clear, possible from persecution]. You understand? When we got to Poland one could not live [?] in Poland. You understand? So we first went to Poland, and in Poland we could see already where people are going. And so . . .
  • David Boder: Where people are going . . .
  • Clara Neiman: Yes [chuckle].
  • David Boder: And how did you get from Poland to France? Tell me that.
  • Clara Neiman: How we traveled by train. We traveled in small groups by ancua [? She uses apparently a French colloquialsim or mispronounces the word; it means bus].
  • David Boder: How did you travel?
  • Clara Neiman: I traveled by [sounds like avcua].
  • David Boder: The whole . . . What does it mean, avcua?
  • Clara Neiman: We traveled altogether four days to [word not clear].
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Clara Neiman: And there we waited a month's time.
  • David Boder: Yes. Where did you wait month's time?
  • Clara Neiman: Well, in rooms.
  • David Boder: At a committee [shelter house]?
  • Clara Neiman: Yes, at a committee. It was arranged by the Agudah. There was food . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Clara Neiman: There was drink and . . .
  • David Boder: Oh. The Agudah has taken you over already from Poland?
  • Clara Neiman: From Lodz. Right from Poland. Yes.
  • David Boder: Yes. And they took you from Lodz and . . .
  • Clara Neiman: From Lodz through . . .
  • David Boder: To Prague.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes, to Prague. From Prague we also came by avcua [bus].
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Clara Neiman: We traveled by bus.
  • David Boder: By bus you traveled?
  • Clara Neiman: Yes, yes, and illegally.
  • David Boder: How far, all to France? In busses?
  • Clara Neiman: Yes.
  • David Boder: So you passed Germany?
  • Clara Neiman: We passed through. Yes. There we met our brothers.
  • David Boder: [Surprised] O-oh.
  • Clara Neiman: This is how we found them. I shall tell you. We arrived at dawn.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Clara Neiman: You understand? I was to. We left . . . we traveled four days. So it came to be Friday night [the eve of the Sabbath].
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Clara Neiman: So we had arrived on Thursday . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Clara Neiman: . . . coming to France. And Friday we were already in the hotel.
  • David Boder: Hm.
  • Clara Neiman: And there we already . . . and from there I transferred [rest of sentence not clear].
  • David Boder: Was the Rabbi Horwitz with you? [See Chapter 42.]
  • Clara Neiman: Not there, not there, not there. He was already later . . . [correction] they had come earlier. They were already here at this place [?], but a few families [?] were still in Paris.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Clara Neiman: They were not transferred.
  • David Boder: Well.
  • Clara Neiman: And so since we were in Paris, we ate in a refectory.
  • David Boder: Hm. [Pause.] Now then, and what are you doing here all day?
  • Clara Neiman: Here? No worry. I do what I wish [?] My husband goes to work in the garden. And I have to take care, of course, of the little baby. I have to watch [?] him.
  • David Boder: Aha. And where do you eat? You eat in the . . .
  • Clara Neiman: In the refectory.
  • David Boder: In the refectory. Aha. All together? Or you eat with the women separately from the men?
  • Clara Neiman: We eat separately. In the same refectory, but [we sit] separately.
  • David Boder: Yes. You eat separately. And the same when you go to prayer. You are separated.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes. For breakfast, for dinner, for supper [?].
  • David Boder: Yes. So you don't have to cook for yourselves.
  • Clara Neiman: No.
  • David Boder: And for the baby?
  • Clara Neiman: No, for the child they don't cook, Surely I cannot take the child to the refectory [?].
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Clara Neiman: I have in my place a little oven, so I cook [for him] on the oven.
  • David Boder: You have a little oven.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes. A primus machine [a kerosene cooker].
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Clara Neiman: [Words not clear.]
  • David Boder: And your husband? He is a tailor as well [in addition to his agricultural work]?
  • Clara Neiman: He is a tailor, a good tailor for men's, women's [these few words said in Russian were not clear.]
  • David Boder: What does that mean?
  • Clara Neiman: [In Yiddish] For the man and for . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Clara Neiman: . . . the woman.
  • David Boder: [In Russian] Oh. Men's and women's.
  • Clara Neiman: Men's and women's
  • David Boder: Hm, a men's and women's tailor.
  • David Boder: [In Yiddish] So in Palestine, in Eretz Yisroeil what do you think you will do? You will have a tailor shop or you will work on the land?
  • Clara Neiman: He . . . he will give up tailoring. All the time in Russia he neither worked at tailoring. He worked on the land. He likes in on the land.
  • David Boder: He likes . . .
  • Clara Neiman: On the soil. He will go to work on the soil.
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Clara Neiman: He likes it on the soil . . .
  • David Boder: Well, Clara Adamovna, that is very interesting. You have told us, indeed, someting completely new, and I think we will all be interested to hear it. Anything else that you want to tell me, some other interesting things that you have lived through during the war? [Pause.]
  • Clara Neiman: [Laughter.]
  • David Boder: How old is your little boy now?
  • Clara Neiman: I . . . my little boy? The second year.
  • David Boder: One year?
  • Clara Neiman: A year . . . no the second . . .
  • Clara Neiman: [In Russian] . . . a year and a half.
  • David Boder: A year and a half.
  • David Boder: [In Yiddish] And how long are you married?
  • Clara Neiman: I? Already three years, the fourth year.
  • David Boder: The fourth year. You had no other children?
  • Clara Neiman: No. It's the first child.
  • David Boder: The first child.
  • Clara Neiman: A boy. [Laughter.] A big brat. [She uses colloquial expressions hence the question.]
  • David Boder: A big what?
  • Clara Neiman: [Still laughing] A big brat.
  • David Boder: What is that?
  • Clara Neiman: Well, a big [In Russian] mischief.
  • David Boder: Well. I thank you very much.
  • David Boder: [In English] This concludes the interview with Mrs. Clara Adamovna Neiman, at Hénonville near Paris, in a Kibbutz, rather . . . of a rather religious organization. She is a representative of a Russian family which became converted to Judaism through Molokanism, not for motive of marriage. And she was brought up as a Jew by her parents. And, eh . . . Her parents are already now in Palestine, and [so is] one brother. Oh, yes . . .
  • David Boder: [In Yiddish] you failed to tell me how you happened to meet in Germany your brothers?
  • Clara Neiman: [Chuckle.] [In Russian] Yes, we skipped that.
  • David Boder: Well speak Russian.
  • Clara Neiman: We traveled for a long time. We were in a hurry. We arrived, and we had to stay over night.
  • David Boder: Where did you arrive?
  • Clara Neiman: We arrived in Luxen— . . .
  • David Boder: Luxemburg?
  • Clara Neiman: [In Yiddish] Luxemburg, yes. It was like [two words not clear]. My husband went to the Synagogue. What does he see? The students of the Yeshiva.
  • David Boder: [A few words not clear.]
  • Clara Neiman: My husband enters: they were going to prayer [two Hebrew words]. He entered the Synagogue. So he says, are there here a couple of boys, Gers [Christians converted to Judaism].
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Clara Neiman: Yes, they say they are in the Yeshiva [?]
  • David Boder: Aha.
  • Clara Neiman: So, my husband quickly run over to them, and he sees they were indeed our brothers, the little [younger ones]. [Full of joy] They had grown much, had recuperated. They were [before] so down trodden, in the general . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Clara Neiman: [Few words not clear]. They were now well dressed. We then took leave from them [the wire is noisy for about a sentence]. I don't know . . . , but of course they will go to America.
  • David Boder: Thank you very much.
  • David Boder: [In English] This concludes the interview. Illinois Institute of Technology wire recording.
  • Contributors to this text:
  • Transcription (Russian) : Olga Collin
  • Transcription (Yiddish) : Khane-Faygl Turtletaub
  • English Translation : David P. Boder