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[Page 17]

Chapter 2

The Cheder years, 1910-1914

Jacob: Well, you will need a lot of patience to listen to me. Don't forget that I am eighty years old. I was born 19th of January 1905. So from the cheder years after this time is a long time.

I will start with one or two episodes what happened to me, as the hero already of our talking, before the cheder. As you know, in 1905, 1906, there was a revolution in Russia-certainly in Lithuania, and certainly in Pumpyan-against the Tsar. I didn't take part in the revolution that time, you can imagine, but I took part in some events what happened later on, probably in 1909. I was three or four years old. So I remember myself since the age of three, four years old.

In that time in Pumpyan came a “punishment commander” to punish the revolutionaries and to catch them. And as I said, I played a certain part. And what is the part? One of the leaders of the revolution in Pumpyan, as I know from history of Pumpyan, was a man by name Feldman. He was a Jewish man, the pharmacist, or, as you call in Yiddish, the apteyker of Pumpyan. He was the leader of the revolutionaries, or they call them in Yiddish statchkeniks-statchka is something like a strike-the strikers. Certainly, as our house was the largest and the best house, they used to say, and the best situated, so the punishment group, the commander, was stationed in our house. Where else would they be?

I don't know how many, but in the house were about fifteen or twenty people. The commander was a high-rank Russian officer; they said he was a general, or, as you call in Yiddish here, a generate. So I remember one day they came in, and they pushed us out of the house. There was seven or eight rooms in the house. We were crowded in one room, in the kitchen and the adjoining room, and they occupied all other rooms. And I was among the people, and suddenly, they brought in the apteyker Feldman in chains, and they locked him up in one of the rooms, in the bedroom, and nobody could come in to him or talk to him or take any part in dealing with him.

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Who was the hero? Myself I as a fellow of three, four years old-I remember it very well-I was running among the officers, playing with them, and they were talking with me somehow and showing some pictures. So the people got an idea. They put in my pocket some letters or some notes, and I freely came into the room of the apteyker, of the imprisoned Feldman. And probably he knew. He took out the letters, I did not realize what was going on-and he read it, and he wrote something and put it back in my pocket, and I went among the people, and the people got the message from him. So this role as the messenger, as a connection between the imprisoned Feldman and the family of his, so I was the hero playing this part. I don't remember how long it lasted. Finally, they caught me once. The Russians caught me what I was doing, so they gave me a few patsh in tochas. Do you know what it means in Yiddish?

Josh: Yes. A gentle spank.

Jacob: I lost my freedom to commute between Feldman and other people. So this stayed in my memory before the cheder times.

By the way, the destiny of Feldman and those other statchkeniks, revolutionaries, was bad. They beat them and hit them. And Feldman was sent out to Siberia, as I remember from later on people told. Where he died I don't know, but probably in Siberia. Later on being in America, I met his wife and his mother. His mother was an old woman already, in the nineties. I met them probably in 1948, '49, '50. She died already, and his wife, too. We talked, and I told them this story, so they hugged me and kissed me. “You were the fellow who was the messenger between my husband and our family.” Can you imagine the destiny of people, how it comes back? And it came back to my mind I was the fellow at that time.

Anyway, the cheder years of a Jewish boy in Lithuania at that time starts at the age of five, sometimes six. If the boy was capable, they send them to cheder. at five and other boys six, seven – maybe. In Pumpyan there were a few melamdim. A melamed is an old-fashioned teacher, or a rebbe, we call it. Melamed comes from the Hebrew word lamod, meaning to teach.

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For beginners there were two rebbes, two melamdim: Reb Myram and Reb Pinchas. Reb Myram, I remember him, an old man with a long beard. Reb Myram was the main melamed in cheder, and he has to have about twenty, twenty-five pupils. Reb Pinchas was a smaller one. Reb Pinchas was also the sexton in the synagogue at the same time. He used to have ten or twelvstudents. So my parents decided to send me to Reb Pinchas.

I remember the day they brought me to the cheder. It was a celebration. It was like a yontef, to bring a Jewish child to the cheder to start learning. I was wrapped in a tallis. That was the customary way. They brought me to the room. The word cheder means a room, and the whole school consists of one room, a long table with long benches, and the pupils were sitting on the benches at the table. They put me in the middle, and they took off the tal/is from my head, and the rebbe opened before me the aleph-bes, the Hebrew alphabet, showing to me, “This is an aleph; this is a bet.” And at the same time, candies and raisins started falling over my head on the table. Certainly, we assumed it that God dropped it from the heavens, or angels at least. The meaning is that learning in Hebrew, learning loshen kodesh, the holy language, was commandment of God, and God is giving me an award-these raisins and the candies and maybe other good things, I don't remember exactly. So I was pleased and at the same time afraid to go out into the world and to meet other children, unknown, maybe, and to start learning.

Anyway, a Jewish child gets accustomed to the cheder very quick; in one to two days, and he felt like home. So then I was left alone. Probably I was crying that my parents left me alone, and I started my cheder study. And around, other children sitting, and the rebbe was going from one to another, showing the letters and teaching us: Cometz aleph “oh”, “cometz bet” “boh”, “patach aleph” “ah”, “patach bet” “bah”, and so far and far. And so we started the cheder years.

The next year, I was switched over to the cheder of Reb Myram, because Reb Pinchas as the sexton was busy with the synagogue, too, and he couldn't take older children, so Reb Myram used to teach them for two or maybe three years. So this was a lot larger cheder, a larger room. So as I would say now about the cheder, it was a ridiculous to spend the whole day in one room, mostly sitting, crowded, and the same room

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used to be for the family of the rebbe--eating in the same room; maybe if he had children, for nighttime preparing some couch or bed for sleeping, a bedroom. That was whole apartment, or maybe a kitchen somewhere, or the kitchen was part of this room, I don't remember exactly. So a Jewish child spent in the cheder from early morning-about, I would say, eight-thirty, nine o'clock in the morning-until dark. I don't remember too much about the cheder of Reb Myram.

The next year, I was sent to a cheder where the children were already older-maybe ten, eleven years old-and we started to learn Chumash, the five books of Moses. That was the cheder of Reb Alter. There was another rebbe who was teaching the same, Reb Shleme Shapson, and my parents were hesitating and weighing to send me to Alter's cheder or Shleme Shapson's cheder. Shleme Shapson's cheder had a bad reputation. Reb Shleme Shapson and his wife had two animals, and the animals lived in the cheder and roamed all around, two goats. And they used to say, “When a pupil is bad, does not behave or doesn't learn, Shapson tears off your ears and give it away to the goats.” And we believed this, so I broke out in crying. “Mommy, don't send me to Shapson's cheder. He'll tear off my ears and give it to the goats. Don't send me there.” So they did me a favor. Shleme Shapson was maybe the most popular melamed, but they did me a favor and sent me to the cheder of Reb Alter. Reb Alter was a kaysan. You know what kaysan is?

Josh: No.

Jacob: Easy to get angry. So we were sitting on the benches and learning Chumash, starting from Breshit and not abbreviated but the whole Chumash.We have to go over during the week the whole sidra, the whole portion of the Chumash from A to Z, no matter how long the sidra is. And the teaching was simple and efficient. I wish they teach children now as it was at that time. Simply we translated sentence by sentence from Hebrew into Yiddish. Breshit barah elohim, “In the beginning, God created,” and we learned it. Later on, maybe, we started Rashi, the commentaries. So a child really learned a lot.

By the end of the week, shabbas, the rebbe used to come to our home. I don't know if he come to everyone's home, but to our home

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he come every shabbas, and Mother prepared for him a glass of teanot cup of tea but a glass-with refreshment with cake, and he was sitting and holding his beard in his hands, and then came my time. “Nu, young man, come here. Let's see what did you learn during the week.” He examined me. I had to show what I accomplished for this week. I started, “Breshit barah elohim,” explaining.

I remember in the beginning, I was shy and afraid, but after a few shabbasim, a few times, I knew what to do, and I showed my knowledge. I always was a good student. In comparison with others, I always was some of the best students. My father and mother and the Grandmother Golda used to come and having nachas of me that I know the Chumash so well. So it was a delight for me, too. And certainly, Mother gave me a refreshment, something good. We didn't drink tea. Children didn't drink tea at that time. So she gave me probably milk or some other things. The rebbe enjoyed spending with us a couple of hours and relaxing, talking politics and other things.

In cheder itself, in Reb Alter's cheder, there were about twenty, twenty-five pupils, different ages-the first year, the second year, and the third year-learning Chumash, and the rebbe himself has to teach all the three groups, to combine somehow in one room, the one table. So when came time to teach a first group, we approached him near to his seat, and he taught us. We learned with him. And the other two groups were sitting a little farther and were reviewing for themselves, repeating for themselves. Then after an hour or two, another group came, and so on for all the three groups.

When it came to shacharit, the morning prayer, we used to pray at home or in synagogue. When it came mincha time, the afternoon prayer, we interrupted the learning and prayed all the mincha with the rabbi together. And after mincha, we still learned for a couple of hours, maybe longer, or close to ma-ariv time, the evening prayer. Then we were dismissed. It was already evening time. The rabbi runs to the synagogue for ma-ariv prayer, and we went home.

I remember winter time when we went home, it was dark, and each child came with a lantern. In the lantern was put a candle so to find the way home. And fall time and spring time-the streets were not pavedwe used to go into the mud up to the knees almost, in some places. We

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have to maneuver, to manage how to jump from one place to another place, not to get into the mud to your knees. I used to go home with a lantern and come home, and there Mother waited. At home, a big lamp was burning, and Mother and Grandmother used to accept me. “Here the scholar comes home.”

Well, it was a happy time in my life at that time. In cheder itself, some pupils were good, some were excellent-I was among the excellent, always-and some were not so good at all. Not capable. So if a pupil didn't know, the rebbe used to punish them, thinking that punishing would help to teach them. So he was grabbed by the ear and make him feel. Maybe Shleme Shapson gave the ear to the goat, I don't know. And as the punishment, they have in their hand a kanchik; they call it lokshen. You know what it is?

Josh: Noodles?

Jacob: Long noodles. What was lokshen? It was a stick, and on the stick was nailed on seven long strips ofleather. Seven. Seven is a happy number. So he used with a lokshen to punish over your shoulders, over your hands, over everything. Sometime the rebbe didn't have to talk, but the lockshen talkedAnd that should help the pupils to learn, to remember. If they behaved badly, so the lokshen will quiet them down. I .seldom got hit with the lokshen, very seldom, but other pupils-I remember one name, Chatseh-Meshe, a pupil of my age. His father was Zavel the butcher. He couldn't learn. He couldn't understand, so the lokshen jumped over his shoulder, over his neck, quite often. But I didn't think it helped Chatseh-Meshe to learn and to remember the Chumash.

Well, later on, we learned only the Hebrew reading, and the Chumash not farther. Later on, two new things developed in shtetl. A new teacher came into shtetl, and we called him not melamed, not rebbe, but we called him lehrer. Lehrer means teacher. He was a modern teacher already. His name was Yehne Bold. His children, three sons, still live in Israel, and when I was in Israel, I met two of them. And not to forget when we met the first time. “Ah,you are Yakov, who used to beat me up, who used to beat me up because you were angry with my father, so you beat me up.” I felt very uncomfortable! “You were the rich family son

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Jacob, and how many times you beat me up.” The first time, I felt very, very uncomfortable. It was true. Later on, we met, we became friends. One was my age, and the other one was a couple of years younger. They are well-known people, by the way. They were left-wing leaders. I don't know if they are alive or not right now.

So this lehrer, Yehne Bolel, came from some other town, and he established a cheder, a modern cheder. Besides teaching us Chumash and certainly the prayers, he was not very froom, not like the old orthodox. He taught us to write Yiddish and to read a little bit Yiddish and also Hebrew, to write Hebrew. That was progress already, what the old rebbe did not teach you. Besides, there were two or three girls in his cheder. That was also new. So I was a pupil in that cheder probably a year or two years. But he was not a healthy man, very excited, always very angry; always he had trouble with the family, a big family, four to five children, and certainly they demand, and how much could rebbe or a lehrer make? Very little, very poor. He had to rent a room.

So when he was punishing, he was hitting hard. First of all, he had no lokshen. He used to punish a different way. He used to take your hand, and with a stick or a ruler to hit you over your hand, and sometimes to hit you hard. When he was very excited, you have to lay down on the bench, and he hit you over the tochas with a ruler so you felt! I got hit a couple of times, a few times, but other pupils got it quite often.

What else? In his cheder there happened things that, up to date, I cannot explain why it happened. Up to date, I don't know. There were older pupils-1 suppose I was ten, eleven years old, and there were older pupils, probably twelve, thirteen years old-and we had to play, to call it a family. So there was nearby a part of the house unfinished. They used to take us in this part of the house, and the older pupils used to hit us. They used to beat us with belt and with some other things, like branches or something, until the parents discovered; my parents discovered somehow. We were forbidden to tell parents what happened. Then was a scandal around this cheder, and my parents took me out. Sometimes, if you'll explain to me why it happened, why they did it, and what is the background of something like this, I will appreciate it. But now, I'll just tell you.

Another thing being in that cheder of Reb Yehne, we had fights with

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the Lithuanian pupils of the Lithuanian-Russian school. As you know, the Russians tried to complete the Russification of the country. There was about a kilometer from our cheder a Russian-Lithuanian school, and pupils of that school passed through the same street to the Ponevezher Street, where our cheder was, and they always like to attack us, the Jewish children. As I told you before, among the pupils there were grownup children, already at the age thirteen, fourteen, so they resisted. We, the smaller children, helped them out, so there was going on always, almost every evening, fighting between them and us. And the end of the fighting was always that some child was hurt, some child was bleeding.

The parents were not satisfied, either. “It's the wrong place; the cheder is in the wrong place. You have to meet the pupils of the Lithuanian school.” Well, anyway, the cheder almost dosed, until they found another place-maybe a year later or half a year later-until they found another place for the cheder. What happened actually to the Lehrer Yehne Bolel, I don't know exactly. I know only a few children of his survived, very capable young men, and they were leaders in Israel, some of them.

At the same time, another event happened. One day-it was the end of the summer, I suppose-a commission came to the shtetl, three people, two men and a woman. We did not know in the beginning what about them we discovered. One was the regional inspector of schools, of Russian schools. The other man was a teacher in the nearby, larger shtetl Posvel. The woman was a teacher, and she was supposed to be the teacher appointed for Pumpyan, to have in Pumpyan a Russian–Jewish school to teach us the Russian language. In process of Russification, they need a school like this for Jewish children. In the shtetl, the excitement was great. Some reacted positive, some negative. Some said, “It's good to have a school like this. Here the Lithuanians have a school where they teach them Russian. Why not have a Jewish school to teach Jewish children Russian?” Another part was opposed, certainly-in the first place, the melamdim, the rebbes, the lehrers, and the other orthodox people. “Who needs a Russian school? They will make our children into goyim. It's good to have a cheder.”

Anyway, they opened a school, and my parents were the first one to send me to that school. So we were in school about maybe twenty-

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five, thirty pupils-young, my age and older. They taught us Russian language; we didn't know up to date. We know a little bit Lithuanian. We could understand and talk Lithuanian with the Lithuanian people, although we young children had not too much connection with the Lithuanians.

So that was the second event, and in the Russian school, I was first of all one of the bad pupils. I did not pay much attention. But when I understood a little more, and I understood the importance to learn a language, I became one of the best students and became the favorite of the teacher. As a matter of fact, I met the teacher. Her name was Chana Glausman. Her Russian name was Nadershta Abramnova Glausman. I met her in Russia when we were expelled. So she was glad to meet me. I already felt a grown-up boy, being fourteen, fifteen years old or older. So we met again, and then we lost each other. That's the second event.

In the cheder years happened a couple of things. It is still in my mind; although I am much, much older, these things still are in my mind. Up to date, I believe that I saw the devil himself The devil. Can you imagine? There was a lot going on in the shtetl, a lot of believing in all these things-how you call them? Supernatural? We believed the whole world is full with bad spirits. Devils; we call it in Yiddish sheddim. And the sheddim persecute you wherever you go. Especially they are gathering in the cemeteries, in the attics or the basement of the synagogues. We believed firmly in these things, and the life of the Jewish child was filled with these beliefs, superstition. That's the word! With superstition.

Not only the children but the grown-up people also believed, superstitious in all these things. A mezuzah should help us not to let them into the house, but the mezuzah is not enough. We have to have a special prayer or saying. The most important prayer should be when you meet a bad spirit; you should say Shma Yisroel: “Shma Yisroel adenai elohenu adenai echad” [“Hear 0 Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one”]. A bad spirit or the devil himself cannot stand it, and they disappear, so this saying was always on our lips in case we need. Nighttime, evening time, we were afraid to go around the synagogue or around the cemetery not to meet somebody.

So it happened one day, probably around age six or seven-a sunny

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day, midsummer-and I was walking around our store. The store was separate from the house. There was a cellar. The cellar was partially flooded, and we didn't use it, so the entrance was covered with boards and nails, and nobody walked in there. Being anxious to see what is there, as a child, I opened one board. I made it loose, and I came into the cellar, looking. I looked. It was half dark. Some light was coming in through the window, through a small window, and suddenly, I see that the devil himself is coming from the window toward me! I saw his face, a terrible face. He had legs like a goose, goose legs going over the water, and he was approaching me! I only could yell, “Mommy, Mommy, help!” I was yelling so, my older brother came running, and maybe other people. They took me out. I fainted! I didn't know what happened. They called a felsher. A felsher is an assistant doctor. A felsher knew a lot, and the felsher came, and they revived me. “What happened? What happened?”

“I saw the devil!”

“How did he look?”

I described how he looked. Certainly, I fainted. People were laughing; daytime, I couldn't explain why. But people tried to explain. “Light and shade came through the window. It was light and shade, and the reflection of the light and shade into the water made it look like a person, like a devil is moving there.”

But I want to emphasize the superstition of people, of children and the same of grown-ups, that it so impressed me that, up to date, it is on my mind that I saw the devil in the basement.

Well, continuing with the happy years of a child in the shtetl. They were really happy years. As I told you, we had a big backyard, so I was able to arrange all kind of games, of play, for the children, inviting them to our backyard. Many games I was arranging, and always children were around the house. Some game under certain name was like American football. I think that was the origin of American football that we used to play in a simple way. Some other game we used to play, to hide and search. It was a big place with a garden, with orchards, so there were many places to hide, and always there were ten or twenty children around. Other games we used to play were Nuts, especially in Erev Pesach, the week before Pesach and Pesach time. You need lots of long

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space to go and to play the Nuts play. Sometimes Mother was not too happy; it was too noisy. You know how children play. Sometime we had a maidservant who was unhappy, too; she had to dean. But for me was just happiness. The other children from poorer families were envying, looking at me like a child who had everything, and they didn't have, I am sure. I didn't understand that time what it means.

One thing happened. I always like animals. I like dogs and cats since I was young. So an idea I had was to have a dog, and my older brother, Yossel, supported me to have a dog, so somehow we got a puppy. The opposite-my parents didn't want to have any dogs. It is disturbance and a lot of noise or something, so we kept the little dog for a few days secretly. Finally, my father discovered the dog, and he took it, and he gave it away to somebody. I was upset. I was upset for many days and crying, and some bad feelings towards my father developed since then, but temporarily.

We used to have a cat, and I was always happy to see young kittens coming out when the time came. So I am talking about childhood years at the age of a boy seven or eight years, maybe younger. And sometime happened the kittens died, or they were killed somehow by other cats, I don't exactly know. So the children who envied me spread the rumor that I killed the kittens, and for many years it upset me so much that it is on my mind up to date. I was completely innocent. The opposite – suffered. But the libel that I killed them was always on my mind up to these days.

Well, there developed to me a feeling of farming. We had land around, and, as I told you, later on we bought up the land that belonged to my grandmother Bobbe Tsipa. We bought it from her daughter Sarah. It was two and a half acres. Later on, I planted an orchard. We had additional land. So it developed to me a feeling for farming, although we are not formal farmers at home.

Well, everything passes. We grow with years, and we are approaching the fatal years of the First World War. The First World War in Europe started in 19 - if l am not mistaken-14 or '15.

The way of a Jewish child in the shtetllike in Lithuania was, after the cheder years, to continue in a yeshiva. You become a yeshiva bocher.

If you were from a rich family, parents help you, and you learned in a

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yeshiva; you were boarding and lived by yourself. If you are from a poor family, you could continue in yeshiva and essen teg. Essen teg in translation means eating days. What it means is you are sent to the town or to the city where the yeshiva is, and there was a committee, a certain group, who organized, and you ate one day in one house, another day in another house, so for the whole week, for seven days. They call it eating days, and so you have a chance to learn, to study, and you have your room and food. Some days were good. Some days were not so good.

I could be sent to yeshiva, they were thinking. Another way was to stay in shtetl when you were already age thirteen, fourteen, and to do nothing. There is nothing to do in shtetl, no industry, no great business, and you could become a karabelnik-a karabelnik means a peddler-to go to villages and then buy something. What could you buy? A small amount of grain. You could buy a skin of an animal. You could buy some other what farmers produce or left over. Or you could go to a city and get higher education: elementary school, higher school. My parents, especially my mother, always worried about my education. They always wanted to make me more educated than average boys, and I was more educated even in Pumpyan. So when comes a certain age, the rebbes told, “There is nothing else to teach him. That far we can go. We don't go higher. So what can we do for him? Privately? Or send him somewhere.” Privately, there was also nobody to teach you privately, and privately there is no tachlis, no results. What can you learn?

So that time, we discovered that in Shavel, not in Ponevezh. Ponevezh was the nearest city to us, about twenty-five kilometers; Shavel was much farther away-in Shavel they were opening a school, a Hebrew-Russian school that is some kind of a day school, what we call here. To teach you half a day in Hebrew all Hebrew subjects: Chumash, Tanakh, bible, even you start Gomorrah, Talmud, the language, grammar-Hebrew language, I am talking. In afternoon, you will learn in Russian all the subjects that they teach in a Russian-language school: Russian language with grammar, history, geography, science, and so far.

So my mother was excited. She heard about this school. But how to send me to this school? It is far away and expensive. So finally, we discovered that in Shavel we have some family by the name Luntz. She

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was a second cousin of us. We had no connection with them. We knew about them, they knew about us. In Pumpyan the woman Luntz had a cousin or some relative. She gave us the address, and Mommy took me to Shavel.

Can you imagine? It was a trip like going to the moon, from Pumpyan to Shavel. They prepared me a special suit, a special coat and everything, and they brought me to Shavel, I remember, to the house of the Luntzes. The Luntzes had two boys and a daughter. One was my age, one was older. No-I remember, three sons. The third one was already grown up, an adult. He was a bookkeeper. The daughter, also grown up. And my mother came begging to give me board and to live with them, and she agreed in that time to pay in the beginning ten rubles and then twelve rubles a month for board and everything, to be with their children. The woman didn't want in the beginning, but later she agreed, and I became a citizen of Shavel.

The day came Mother had to depart, to go back home, and I had to stay there. It was a tragedy for me. I was crying and later on homesick, but you know, a child gets used to things like this, and I became a pupil of the Hebrew-Russian school, yeshibot in Russian, from the word yeshiva. That was the name of the school, and together with the Luntz children we went every day to school. Later on, I was happy already, and I was sending letters twice a week that I promised my parents-not letters but postcards, twice a week. I remember on Friday I used to go to the railroad and drop a letter or a postcard direct in the mail department of the train. The train had a mail department; you could drop directly there. It was happy years, happy years that didn't last long. The First World War was approaching.

Another event what is connected. As I told you before, my new Uncle Schindler, or in America they were called Sandler, who married my Aunt Goldie, had nothing to do in Pumpyan. He was a shoichet. He was educated, and he lived for a certain amount of years in neighboring Latvia. In Latvia there was a seashore resort. Beautiful places. He knew these places; probably he lived there before. So he opened for summer a store to accommodate the vacationers. The place was called Dubel, on the Baltic seashore. There was a whole row of places by different, nicesounding names, but Jews were not allowed to live there. There was, I

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remember, Mayorenhof, Karlsbad, and Edenberg. Only one place the Jews were allowed, the poorest place, was Dubel. So he opened a store, a little food store, to serve the vacationers from, let's say, the months of June, July, August. And my father and my mother always looked for new occupations for us, new income, so my father became a partner with him and my older brother, Yossel. They went all three to that place, to Dubel, during the summer.

They worked hard. It was a hard work, hard labor, and they made a few rubles. The next year they separated. My Uncle Schindler had his place somewhere, and we opened a new place in Dubel by ourselves. The way to go, the best way to go, was by wagon. So the next summerwe were there three summers, as far as I remember-my father went, my older brother, Yossel, and the maidservant. She used to cook for them and to help them in the store. She was a strong young woman and a good worker, so they made a few more dollars during the summer.

The vacationers paid well for the food, for delivery. And the next summer they went again, the same team. I was already a pupil in Shavel, a pupil in the Hebrew-Russian school. So for the summer month, for June, during vacation, I went from Shavel not home to Pumpyan but to Dubel, to spend a few weeks with Father. Mother came there, too, to spend a few weeks. Can you imagine that the family from Pumpyan allowed themselves to go to vacation, to close the business in Pumpyan and to go to vacation to Dubel? That was a luxury that is unimaginable in Pumpyan to describe it, and in Pumpyan they said, “The rich family, the Rassens, they do it.”

So anyway, I was there in Dubel for a couple of weeks. My older brother, Yossel, showed me all the attractions of the seashore, of the resort places. He took me a few times to the resort places forbidden for the Jewish people to live there. We went there seeing, and I had a wonderful time. Now stop, we heard the news: The First World War broke out.

 

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