The Jewish Community of Monastir, Macedonia: Holocaust Survivor Testimonies


Is there a song you remember that you would like to share? Or a book you want to mention that you particularly liked? What does that mean? “There far away, far beyond the sea. There is already mine, there is my home.” What did you mean here? Israel? No, firstly, I meant my home outside of Israel,
this was a song we sang there. I don’t know what was intended. Maybe we
meant Eretz Israel, which was far away, It was a song essentially dedicated to the emigrants, because in our city, there was unemployment, so
people would immigrate to far off places, and would always remember their original home. So this song came out, because there were many cases like this. It was a popular folk song. All of the people you see in the pictures
were people of means, like my father. When someone would marry off a daughter, and it was known that they were poor, the wedding would be taken care of, that there would be food and everything that was needed, anonymously, that they wouldn’t know who sent what. They would send basic food and also some money, what they were able to. Thus they provided help. There were no technologies back then like today, such as a washing machine, an electric iron, or ovens. There was an outdoor stove where they would bake bread once a week and prepare all the foods for the Sabbath and we would eat. Interviewer: Your mother did all of these things by herself? No maids ever entered the house. All the laundry was done by hand. There wasn’t even a tin for it. Everything was done by hand. To heat something up, we would kindle wood. In the winter there was an oven with logs to heat the home. Life was very good. Interviewer: your mother did all of the chores? All of the chores, from A to Z. I never felt even one instance of antisemitism. I told you, I was accepted amongst all circles. For me, except for antisemitic literature, we thought that antisemitism was only in Poland. Nowhere else. In Yugoslavia we really didn’t sense any antisemitism. Also in Belgrade when we were there. Antisemitism began in Belgrade in 1939, when Germany conquered Poland, suddenly a group of Christian Fascists emerged, who would persecute the Jews. They would go to the Jewish areas, where the youth branch was located, and would be provocative just to start up with us. But we were all athletic and we didn’t fear them. They would start with us, and they would take a few blows and they would leave, because they didn’t want to get hit. They couldn’t hit us because we were stronger than them. Thus, antisemitism was only for a short period. Afterwards, I entered the army, where there was no antisemitism. My mother loved to go out with my father, they would go dancing at ‘be-ba-bo’ parties. This was before the war. I remember this was before the war. Interviewer: What were these ‘be-ba-bo’ parties? They were parties of ballroom dancing. They were young. My mother was 34. My father was maybe 40. There was love, a strong love, between them.




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