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[Pages 134-135]

Between Antaliept and Dusiat

By Shimon Toker

Translated by Judy Grossman

I was born in Antaliept [Antaliepte]. My father, Yosef Toker, was a native of Dusiat. They were five brothers and one sister: Chaim-Eliyahu, Yitzchak-Hirsh, Sender, Leibl, my father Yosef and Hene-Chana. My aunt Hene-Chana and her family lived with my grandmother Chaya-Sore, but after several years my aunt immigrated to South Africa, following her husband Yankl Fein, who had preceded her by several years, and I remember that he used to send money. All her children left Dusiat but my grandmother continued living there.

 

My parents Avraham-Yosef and Sheine (Sonia nee Birger)

 

My memories of Dusiat are connected to visits to my grandmother. The main street there was paved with cobblestones and the wagon would bounce when driven on them.

Dusiat was a small shtetl, but bustled with Jewish life. It had a Hebrew school, synagogue, and other institutions that they didn't have in Antaliept: a bank, a dentist… and the people of Antaliept utilized these services in Dusiat, which was thus considered a more developed shtetl.

 

 

Antaliept and Dusiat are about ten kilometers apart and it was no problem to get there. You could hitch a horse to a wagon, if you had one… You could join the mail wagon that set out for Dusiat every morning. And we, the young people, used to ride there on our bicycles on the narrow path alongside the woods, and more than once we were caught in the rain, by hail, and by thunder and lightning. But it was a pleasant trip.

 

There was a convent and a church, and there was also a bus in Antaliept …

 

There was also a bus. Antaliept is located in a valley, surrounded by forests and hills, and in the dark you could make out the lights of the bus approaching the shtetl from the bottom of the hills. One of the occupations of the people in Antaliept was to come to the bus station and see who had come to Antaliept and who was going on to Dusiat. The bus came from Kovno [Kaunas] and arrived around 9 P.M., and fifteen minutes later it was already at its final stop in Dusiat.

It was an unbreakable law to go and visit our grandmother on holidays. Of all her grandchildren, I was the one who lived closest to Dusiat, and maintained very close ties with my grandmother. She took it for granted that I would come, and she used to prepare me cheese dishes, baked goods and gumelkes [filled dumplings] …

I loved those visits, and went to visit her very willingly.

My grandmother wasn't tall, but she was nimble and managed very well. I remember that my aunt Hene-Chana used to take care of the children and my grandmother managed the housework and the bakery…

When I came to visit my grandmother in the summer, I used to amuse myself sailing on the lake, and in the winter – sledding and skating on the frozen lake. I can't forget those fun times.

After four years of school in Antaliept I went on to study in Utian [Utena], and then in Vilkomir [Ukmerge]. There I studied with children from Dusiat: Malka Feldman and the brothers Avraham and Dov Schwartz.

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