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[Page 183]

I Lost All My Capital …

By Chasya Milun (Zimmerman)

Translated by Judy Grossman

Chasya Zimmerman, daughter of
Reiche [Raff] and Shlomo, in her youth


I was born in the shtetl of Kamai [Kamajai]. I don't remember when we moved to Ushpol [Uzpaliai].

I had a small shop in Dusiat, in the home of the writer Motel Yoffe's parents, which was beside Moshe-Leib Ziv's teahouse. I think that they were related. At that time Motel was courting a red-haired girl, and then he abandoned her…

I rented a room in the home of the pharmacist, Chaim-Aharon [Shein]. I ran the shop for two years, and lost all my capital there…

I made aliya to Eretz Yisrael in 1925, as a woman with money…

My father was a ritual slaughterer, a respected and popular man, and in Rakishok [Rokiskis] he obtained a warrantee that we were the owners of a factory, and thus I obtained a “certificate”[1], which was very expensive. As soon as I arrived in Eretz Yisrael I sent the warrantee back, and probably thanks to it my two sisters – Yehudit and Shulamit - and my brother Avraham also made aliya to Eretz Yisrael.

Avraham Slep mentions me in his diary as well as Nurse Zimmerman, who is my sister Yehudit. She was a nurse by profession and worked at the Hadassah Hospital in Haifa. We lived together in one room, and I earned a living from distributing milk.

Shulamit Sterman (Zimmerman): I am Chasya's youngest sister. She is the oldest of us all, and when we lost our mother she raised us.

I remember Aharon Poritz, who came to Ushpol from Dusiat and managed the Jewish Bank there. His children spoke only Hebrew, and I remember one of them, perhaps Yosifon, saying in Hebrew: “I have 'zevuvim' [flies] in my head,” and it sounded so weird to us.

Ruth Stern (Sterman): My grandparents Reiche-Elka and Shlomo Zimmerman had eight children.

Only four of them made aliya to Eretz Yisrael: Chasya (Milun), Yehudit-Bunne (Lerman), my mother Shulamit-Shprintze (Sterman) and their brother Avraham.

Leib and his sister Michle-Molly (Koppel) immigrated to the USA.

Moshe and his sister Bat Sheva-Sophie remained in Lithuania.

Our families, like many others, never talked in front of us children about the awful fate of their families who had remained behind. This is how we, the second generation, know so little about them. We know that no one survived the holocaust. Uncle Moshe Zimmerman and his wife Miryam lived in Plungian [Plunge] and were killed together with their two children there. Aunt Bat Sheva (Zimmerman) and her husband Yehuda-Yudl Ribak lived in Rokiskis and were killed together with their three boys: Yitzchak-Velvel, Zalinka - Bezalel and Yosele Yosef.

My grandparents Reiche-Elka and Shlomo Zimmerman died before WWII.

In Israel, the three sisters and their brother lived in Jerusalem, and the families maintained close ties. We, the second generation, retain wonderful memories of our childhood, thanks to this close relationship.

Most of us took a tour to Lithuania last summer. We went up to the mass graves, and our visit to the shtetls of our families has given us a better perspective of where they came from.

Maskevitcher Gass, Dusiat, 1928
[Chava Shub is in front between two flags]


Chasya Milun (Zimmerman): I had a small shop in the home of Yoffe's family on the corner of “Maskevitcher Gass” beside the teahouse - Ziv's Inn on “Unter dem Brik Gass”. On the far left is the home of Milun family at the time.
Gravestone of Reiche-Elka,
daughter of Reb Benjamin Hertz [Raff]
Died 10 Adar 5677 (1917)
(Ushpol, 1930)


Home of the Zimmermans
Ushpol, 1928



  1. British permits for immigration to Palestine Return


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