by Batya Dlugach
Translated by Jerrold Landau
Donated by Anna Traver (Kipchuk)
In the summer of 1919, an uprising against the Soviet government arose, the only motto of which was: Kill the Jews and the Communists! A fire broke out near the Pravoslavic Church, and the church bells began to ring to gather the local hooligans and incite them to take revenge against the Jews who intended to burn the church. The Jews closed their shops and fled. Mother was at home, appearing pale, and remained standing in her typical calm style, as she looked at my sister and me with worry. Father was not at home. We were all paralyzed with fear, not knowing where to turn and what to do. Suddenly a wagon approached our house, and a young gentile, one of the customers of Mother's store, entered and asked us, How can I help you? Mother deliberated for a moment, and finally packed a few belongings and gave them to me along with a few coins. She told us to leave the house and go with the farmer. We parted from her, hid in the wagon, and left the city. The quiet in the villages, fields and forest calmed us. The gentile's wife received us nicely in her house. However, she woke us up at midnight and took us down to the cellar, even warning us that we must escape from the cellar early in the morning. We got up early and disappeared onto side paths. We wandered aimlessly in the fields, lay down among the stalks of wheat, and made sure to turn away from paved roads and villages. Finally, the villagers found us, but they let us be when they heard that we were the daughters of Mrs. Dlugatz. We wandered in this manner between the villages for eight days, and then a gentile acquaintance took us back home. Mother was dear to all her acquaintances, and was known throughout the area for her good heart. She would lend money to the gentiles and offer them advice. She even opened her house to them to rest and eat. Mother and Father were murdered in 1944 by the Germans, and their burial place is unknown. May their memories be a blessing.
Among the medical personalities in our city Nurse Sonia stands before my eyes. She came to the city hospital with the stream of refugees in 1918. At that time, I was a student at the nursing school, and was in the Jewish hospital during my qualification vacation. We worked together along with the rest of the nurses during the vacation. There was a severe typhus epidemic in our city at that time, which spread especially among the soldiers who had come back from the nearby front. Nurse Sonia worked incessantly day and night, with great dedication. She tended to the soldiers, most of whom were lying on liceinfected, filthy, straw mattresses spread over the floor. Sonia did not concern herself with the danger. She got sick and met her death in this hospital as an anonymous person whose name was barely known among the workers and physicians.
At that time, the hospital director Dr. Ostrowsky tried to obtain some medical equipment. These efforts took his time and energy. Dr. Chernobolsky, one of the physicians in the hospital, did not even succeed in getting to know the many sick people who streamed endlessly in from the front and the city. He directed us to work ourselves in the hospital. At that time, Noach the Doctor, who was known as a medic, visited, recommending to them all types of pills from his private repository, even though he had no medical certificate or general education.
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