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[Pages 271-274]

I Realized the Dream of My Youth

By Reuven Milun

Translated by Shirley Yardeni

Dusiat 1924

The parents Zeev-Velvel Milun and Tzipa-Hanne [Gordon] and their children
(from right to left): Reuvke, Chayka, Yaacov and Rivka, Batya in her mother's arms
Standing on the right: Shraga-Feivish Milun and his sister Sarah Milun

Batya Yardeni (Milun): At that time my dear aunt Sarah lived with us and helped my mother. I loved her so much. She didn't let my mother hit me …

Dusiat, October 13, 1927

The children long for their father who is in South Africa.
They carry his photo on the tablets of their hearts …

From right to left: Tzipa-Hanne Milun and her children Batya and Chayka (top)
Seated: Reuven, Yaacov and Rivka
Standing, left: Sarah Milun (their aunt)

Why did I make aliya from South Africa to Israel? That was not an on the spur of the moment decision…

Actually I had decided to make aliya to Eretz Yisrael forty years ago!

I still treasure the Hashomer Hatzair white shirt string and the lottery card from a Hashomer Hatzair party in Dusiat. I have a tiny notebook containing a list of equipment to be taken to summer camp, the names of my group mates and their tax payments, and the list of chapters and books from which we studied at the yeshiva. I keep this notebook as the apple of my eye and once in a while I read it and remember. What a small pen writes, a large ax cannot remove!

My teachers Hillel Swartz and Yudel Slep gave me a small box as a souvenir the evening before I left for South Africa. I still have it. I remember them with admiration, and am indebted to them for my Hebrew that I have never forgotten.

My father was a forester who worked out of the shtetl and came home only for weekends and chagim (Jewish holidays).

Batya (Bessie) Yardeni: Dad left Lithuania for South Africa in 1925 or 1926, and we, the children stayed until 1930 with Mom.

I assume that Dad could make a living anywhere in Lithuania, but he wanted to bring his children to a big place. Rivka, our eldest sister, was studying in secondary school out of town, and he wanted us all to be together. I really don't understand why he didn't choose Kovno (Kaunus). Maybe it wasn't big enough…

I remember that Dad's partner, Pesach, wrote to him, asking him to return to Lithuania, and was prepared to pay all the expenses.

A memento to Milun from the “Tarbut School” in Dusiat, 1924
From right to left, standing: Noah Visakolsky, Reuven Milun, Masha Slep, Breinke Shapira, Bailke Krut
In the middle row: (-), teachers Yudel-Yehuda Slep, Hillel Schwartz, Hirshl-Zvi Hammer
Seated: Bunka Chaitowitz, (-), Golda-Rivka Shub, Shayke Glick, Yocheved Zalkind, (-)

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