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[Pages 223-225]

Mein Kind (My Child)

By Slova Sarver (Segal)

Translated by Judy Grossman

”We lived in this house (left), on Bugos Gatve… “
[Picture was taken through a slit in the boidem [attic] of the Sleps' house
Courtesy Sara Weiss (Slep), Dusiat, 1993]

 

A long line of houses on “Unter-Dem-Brik-Gass” [Bugos G-ve – Bugos Street] belonged to the Levitt families, “di Juzintes” [from Juzint]. On the right, in the house of the Rabbi Bunim-Zemach Zilber, lived his daughter Sore-Nechama and her husband, the pharmacist Chaim-Aharon Shein. Far in the back still exists the red brick house of the Lithuanian Valiulis; there in its cellar the Lithuanian Blinkienye dared to open her store among the Jews

 

My parents told me that the source of my name was the slav [quail] that our forefathers ate in the desert after the exodus from Egypt, and that the first letter “s” was to perpetuate the name of my grandfather Shaul Zizmer, who was a scholar well versed in the Torah and Talmud. The “Litvak oddity” was to mixed up the letter sin (pronounced s) with the letter shin (pronounced sh)…

Our house was of two stories, and my father's cousin's family also lived with us. I remember many children ran around in the house. We used to gather in our shop and sing, and in general have a good time.

In the good times it was a large shop. But in 1926 the economic situation was bad, and we made it smaller. Times were hard, debts accumulated, and the income of the house was based on the milk production of the cow and the chickens that wandered in the yard, until the debts were completely repaid. I remember that the merchants trusted my father, and in contrast to what was customary, agreed to take back unsold merchandise.

 

Ben-Zion Segal son of Libske
Ahuva Eran (Sarver)
His granddaughter perpetuates his mother's name
Sheine-Itel Segal
(nee Zizmer)

My father was filled with Torah, a wonderful man! I kept the postcard he sent me in 1936, when there were riots in Eretz Yisrael, in which he wrote: “Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon[1], suggesting not to publish the acts of killing in Eretz Yisrael in the press, in order to prevent the Gentiles rejoicing over the spilling of Jewish blood in the Holy Land.

My father's letters always contained moral and ethical statements, spiced with quotes from the Bible. My father also used to write me when I was on hachshara, as much as five times a week!

And I remember my good and dear mother always with fetcheyle [scarf] on her head. I see her before my eyes leaning against the stove and warming up, and telling me stories from her childhood.

I remember lovely stories about the close friendship between her and Chaya-Tzipa Slep from the time they were children, when they worked together at handicrafts. They both embroidered covers with the same pattern, but in different colors, and during the big fire, when everyone removed their possessions to the lakeshore, my mother's cover disappeared and only Chaya-Tzipa's survived…

 

“Let us sit together like our grandmothers used to do…”
The two sisters, Ahuva
(left) and Aliza (right), granddaughters of Itel Segal, with Sara, granddaughter
of Chaya-Tzipa Slep sitting in the doorway of the Segals' house, near the Sleps' house.
Dusiat, July 1998

 

My mother was a wonderful woman, a truly superb mother! Once, a former resident of my shtetl, Chaim Levitt, stopped at our photo shop in Tel Aviv. He looked at my husband Tolik and said: “Do you know what a noble mother Slova had?”

 

Footnote

  1. David's lament over Jonathan. Samuel 2, 1:20. Return

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