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[Page 191]

Jewish Livelihoods

Translated by Yael Chaver


Matza for Passover

Matza-baking time was an important event in the town's economic life. People had at least a short period of employment, which also stimulated business.

The first to benefit were the cart-drivers and the porters—they transported the matza flour from the mills. People waited almost all year for those few weeks. Though they did not earn much, there was enough for the holiday. Some of the accumulated debts could be paid off, and household necessities could be purchased. Thus, it was also a good period for craftspeople: tailors, cobblers, makers of fur caps, glaziers, etc. Matza-baking time was especially felt in the shops: everyone came to shop for the holiday.

The matza was not baked by the year-round bakers, but rather by contractors. Their earnings were good, although they risked nothing – everything was paid for by the community. Some contractors owned the proper matza-baking machinery, whereas others had ovens. These machines and ovens were carefully watched all year round, to ensure they would be kosher for Passover.[1] The contractors worked at other jobs all year round, but none of them were professional bakers. They were not affiliated with any professional organization, because everything to do with matza followed the religious regulations dictated by the biblical “in haste.”[2]

The community's income always increased thanks to the selling of matza for Passover, as it controlled the entire project. The treasuries of the social institutions were also enriched. This enabled the creation of funds to assist the needy.

The matza-baking season, which lasted for almost two months, improved the economic conditions of the Jewish population in town and revived all aspects of its activity.


Geographic and Economic Politics

According to its geographic location, Khotyn—like all towns along a highway—should have been an important, prosperous economic location; it should also have enjoyed a high cultural standard. However, there was quite a difference between the town's potential and the realities of its life.

It is hard to say who was to blame for this. Was it the weak performance of its residents and leaders, who—for reasons of modesty—did not want the centrally located town to appear too closely connected with its surroundings? Or was it actually due to the intentions of the authorities to prevent the development of new centers, in opposition to the prevailing centralizing policy?

In fact, Khotyn served as a regional capital for the surrounding towns, and actually housed many administrative institutions where many officials worked. But the town was cut off from the

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railway lines that connected internally and abroad. The train station was 20 kilometers away; in addition, there were no good roads. Thus, Khotyn was like a heart located on the right side of a body rather than on the left side. This disrupted normal “blood circulation.” The authorities in town only had to make sure that “nothing new happened in the entire area, God forbid.”



Jewish merchants found their way to major cities such as Odessa, Kiev, Kamenets. These cities were actually quite close to Khotyn, on the other side of the Dniester. Especially noteworthy was commerce in fruit. After all, the city was completely surrounded by orchards. The fragrance of the tree blosssoms was quite intoxicating. The orchards stretched for miles, inside and outside the town limits.

The fragrance was especially noticeable everywhere when the drying ovens were in operation, drying and baking plums, pears, and apples, before packing them in crates that were shipped to faraway destinations.


The First Buses

Khotyn had no good connections with the towns in the vicinity. Travel in horse-drawn carts was extremely difficult. The summer heat and winter frosts were unbearable. The roads themselves were also bad, with potholes and mud patches. Yet Khotyn was a lively town, and relations between its residents were peaceful.

Then the first buses appeared, carrying passengers from one town to another! The cart-drivers began to vanish, with their juicy language, curses and sayings. People really missed them and had trouble adjusting to the new buses. Many people could not stand the heat inside the closed bus, and fainted away. Sometimes the bus would stop for passengers to disembark and get their breath. Yet it was better, a true leap: instead of taking 8.5 hours, the trip lasted only 3.5 hours.

The first bus was introduced to Khotyn by the son of blind Motl-Peysekh. Later, he had competition from Shmuel Hess, who purchased a Mercedes and drove passengers from Khotyn to Czernowitz and back. Naturally, not everyone could afford to pay the price of a ticket.

Traffic conditions improved with time. The “Bordeinik and Partners” company took over a concession for the Khotyn-Czernowitz line. Specific departure and arrival hours were set. Now, the trip took only two hours.

The new connection had a positive effect on the city's population and development. Even when a doctor was needed to save a sick person, people sometimes indulged themselves and brought in a doctor from Czernowitz.


The Fair

The fair was certainly a significant economic factor in the town's life. Although it took place only once a week, it provided a livelihood for many Khotyn residents. The fair was also part of the lifestyle. It almost became an essential component of the Jewish population. People even included it in oaths: “May God's help be like a good fair” or, “May God's punishment be like a bad fair.”[3]

From midnight on, Jews and non-Jews began streaming from the villages in the area. Horse-traders would bring in mares and colts; peasants would come with carts heaped with grain, vegetables, and chickens. They would also bring cows, calves, and pigs to sell.

The town was excited from very early in the morning. Jews would go up to the carts and prod the sacks. Professional and incidental middlemen would join the crowds. Butchers selected animals to slaughter. They would look them over, stick a hand into the animal's mouth and then wipe their on the animal's hide. Non-Jewish men and women would roam around the shops, looking at the various articles of clothing, shirts, caps. Each purchase had to conclude with a drink, and the taverns around the marketplace were indeed full. As long as the fair lasted, each empty bottle would be replaced by a full one, and the tavern-keepers made a good profit.


From Tuesday until Wednesday evening, half the town would leave for the fair in Klishkovitz.[4] On Thursday, when people returned home, they would first stop at the bank to repay the debts that had accumulated over the past week or two. The bank's

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director, Moyshe Vartikovsky, was strict; he would add to the debt of those who were late in paying.

The herd on the meadow


Robbers would often ambush Jews on their way back from the fair, and drag them into the Rukshin forest.[5] The Jews would then be robbed of money and merchandise. They would also be badly beaten; the poor folks were barely left alive. The police usually did nothing in such cases, but the Jews of Khotyn did not hold back. As if nothing had happened, Jews needed to make a living, which they could not do in Khotyn itself. Every Wednesday before dawn, Jews made their way towards Klishkovitz. People got used to good and bad. They accepted everything willingly and bore the yoke of life, each according to his destiny.

Most of the Jews in Khotyn were artisans, hard workers who lived in poverty. Jews were not involved in agriculture, and the factories, as well, did not take on Jews. Even factories whose owners were Jews hired hardly any Jews. Because of this, Jews became crafts-people. In some families the same craft was inherited by successive generations, along with poverty. Entire families were named after their crafts: tailor, cobbler, tinsmith. In Khotyn, as in other towns, there was tension between artisans and important property owners. This tension found expression in community affairs, the common house of study, synagogue positions, etc.

Among the tailor families of Khotyn, let us note the Sheyngolds and the Sheynmans. They were among the major ones, because they had enough work and made good money. The other tailors had hard lives. Among them were the Oysher family, who were also nicknamed “the Lipkaners” or “the Poles.” Regardless of the hard work, each stitch was accompanied by a song, and things were lively.

Furriers also had a fine profession, and many Khotyn Jews made a living in this way. The furriers of Khotyn even had their own synagogue, and when the Hasidic leader Rabbi Yisro'el-Mordkhe visited Khotyn, he would stay with the furrier Reb Yehoshua Sheynkar. In those years, the Khotyn furriers took their wares to dyers in Odessa, and it was not uncommon for the Jews to be robbed on the train when they returned from Odessa with money.

There were also pouch-makers, who used hand-operated machines and sang constantly. Cobblers, like tailors, usually had trouble making a living in spite of their hard work. However, there were some who earned well, such as the makers of shoe uppers, like Moyshe Mashinist.

Let's also mention some Khotyn carpenters: Zerakh Stolyer, Arn Kukriznik, Ayntshik Stolyer, Berish Stolyer. The best carpenters in Khotyn were the two Toker brothers. Some carpenters made a living by building coffins for non-Jews.[6] Of course, there were blacksmiths in Khotyn as well, who even had important positions in the community council. There were bath-house attendants (such as Dodi Bodner, who had a reputation as a scholar), tinsmiths (noteworthy was Berl Blekher, whose shoes, incidentally, were made of tin). There were bakers as well. The best known baker was Khinke, the female baker. Besides her we mention Leyzer Katarik, Moyshe-under-the-bridge (who baked delicious sweet bagels), Shloyme Beker, and others.[7]



Moyshe Feldman, the attorney (a member of the Left Poale-Tziyon party) tried to organize labor unions in Khotyn; for various reasons, he was unsuccessful. At that time, the 8-hour workday had still not been instituted. People worked from morning until late into the night. This was why it was difficult even to assemble people.

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Poyme Treger

Poyme Treger, who lived with his family near the old bath-house, was known throughout Khotyn.[8] The broken-down little house he lived in was inherited from his father. He made a meager livelihood, and was very poor. Poyme Treger was also known as Poyme the Blind, as he had lost his sight after an illness in childhood. He was orphaned as a child and grew up like a savage, with no upbringing or education. When he became blind, the cart-drivers in town took pity on him and included him in their society. As a result of the hunger and want he experienced as a child, he was enthralled by Communist ideas, and waited for the day when he could “move into the home of the wealthy Shloyme Zeldman, and heave the owner off the second story, head downwards…”[9]

The Soviets finally came to Khotyn in 1940, when they annexed all of Bessarabia. They actually exiled many wealthy persons to Siberia and seized their homes. But Poyme did not benefit. He remained in his decrepit little house, disappointed that fairness had not conquered the world. The economy in Khotyn declined, and Poyme was unable to make a living. In desperation, he took his own life.



In the old days, people made a living for their families by carrying water. This was hard work, especially during the severe freezes, when the water froze in the cans. Some water-carriers sold by the can, and others would sell a samovar's worth. Some water-carriers sold seltzer in summer, as they stood in special booths they built right after Passover. These days, this occupation is unknown; but the name Vaser-firer is kept by many families.[10] Among these are the Tshaynes, who sold boiling water.[11] There were quite a few tea-houses in Khotyn. Let us mention Keni the bath-house attendant, who kept a tea-house, Moyshe Vaser-firer, Rokhl the Deaf, Note Stolyers.



According to YIVO statistics, in the 1870s-1880s Jews owned 3.9% of the cultivated land in the vicinity of Khotyn, and leased 6.2%. These numbers indicate the degree to which Jews were distant from agriculture. Shloyme Hillels, a Bessarabian, writes: “The Russians took over the area of Bessarabia, and Romania annexed it once again during the period of riots and revolution in 1918. This remained a source of tension between the U.S.S.R. and Romania for 25 years; the Jews of Bessarabia were constantly between a rock and a hard place, up to the great extermination, when they were annihilated.

These were simple, honest Jews, observant and unpretentious. They were remarkable for their love for physical work, particularly farming. They lived their own lives and were not concerned with Jewish life as a whole until the spiritual crisis of Russian Jews in the 1880s. They then revealed their strong spiritual energy, and started to participate in the national and cultural Jewish revival.” (Ha-Tekufah 30-31, p. 786).[12]

Documents about Jews and agriculture in the Khotyn area (from the Central Institute for Jewish History in Jerusalem) yield the following:[13]

  1. Very few Jews were actually occupied with agriculture on a regular basis; most of them used hired workers.
  2. There was hardly any cattle breeding; in general, animals played a minor role in their economy.
  3. They were mainly occupied with tobacco-growing and vineyards.
The reports further state: There are nine large landowners in the Khotyn area, with 259 desyatins,[14] and 43 households with 322 desyatins. The remaining 34 households have 63 desyatins altogether; in other words, about two desyatins each.

Agriculture was a significant branch of Khotyn's economy. Some Jews had land, between 3 and 400 hectares –some was owned by Jews, some was leased. Following the reforms of 1932-1933, landownership was restricted to no more than 100 hectares; the rest was expropriated. The property owner Yisroel Shur

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discovered a law according to which each heir had the right to 100 hectares. Shur was left with 300 hectares of land, out of the 2400 he had had before the expropriation. Other Jews also utilized this law. In the Barag family, for example, each member had 60 hectares. Shloyme Zelner, too, ended up with a larger area.

Some Jews leased land, from either Jewish or non-Jewish landowners. Some Jews leased land from many owners, up to 400 leased hectares. They did not usually work the land themselves, but hired laborers.

Tobacco-growing was an important part of the economy. Tobacco required much labor and experienced workers. When the Romanians entered Bessarabia, after the First World War, the government took over this branch of the economy-- a “monopoly.”[15] There was a large tobacco factory in Khotyn, founded by Kalman Feldman in 1889. His son, Borekh Feldman, inherited the factory, which closed in 1918, when the Romanians came to power.


Commerce and Industry

Agricultural products played a significant role in the town's commerce: vegetables, fruit, domestic animals, and chickens. Some of the products were exported to Poland, Germany, and even Palestine, Khotyn was one of the important commercial centers in Bessarabia, along with Lipcan, Briceni, Jedenic, and Soroca. There were no great industrial enterprises in Khotyn, but the following are noteworthy. Stone-breaking mills provided materials for lime production and for construction. Lime kilns served to burn the stones. Brick factories provided many Jews with work and a livelihood. Grain mills, usually water-powered, were also important. Khotyn had four maize mills. There was also another large mill that later burned down. Among the owners of the Khotyn mills were Mendl Litvak, Buzi Feldman, and Shmuel Tabachnik.

Khotyn was also an oil-producing center; that industry was headed by Moyshe Lerner. Others in this field were Yankl Eylnik, Hirshl Bronshteyn, Hertz Roizman, and Yankl Nudelman. The town had a soap factory as well, which belonged to Hirshl Lehman and a candle-maker (Moyshe of the Candles).

Let me also mention the brewery, whichh employed 35-40 people. The owner was Leybish Bukaresku, who had ten children, and was a follower of the Sadigura Hassidic leader. The brewery became famous, and was later moved to Czernowitz.



Khotyn had several hotels, as follows:

“Patria” – Peysekh Eydler
“Commercial” – Gorenshteyn
“Europa” – Gorgun
“Bessarabia” – Serebrenik
The “Patria” hotel was owned by the Eydler family, and was in the center of town. This is where Zionist emissaries would come on their propagandizing mission. We recall Rabbi Dr. Gevelber, Dr. M. Landau (a parliament deputy), Von Weisel, and others who would come to Khotyn very often. Yiddish theater troupes such as those of Goldfaden, Leibovitch, and Sidi Tal were guests of the hotel.

During fur-pelt season (karakul), merchants from the vicinity who were exporters came to the hotel. Other guests were the external gymnazya students who had to take their exams in the Khotyn gymnazyas.[16] Jews who had official business with the “Tribunal” and the “Financial Administration” and the like also stayed at the “Patria.” In short, Hotel Patria was not only an inn, but also a place where people could meet whomever they were looking for.



For many years Khotyn had only one slaughterhouse. It was only in 1937 that the community built a new slaughterhouse for kosher slaughtering.[17] The Jews of Khotyn were mostly observant, and were very strict about the dietary laws. They would buy from Jewish butchers only, about whom there was no doubt concerning the laws. The butchers in Khotyn were really kosher,

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and were honest folks. The idea that they could deceive their buyers and sell meat that was treyf was unthinkable, though these butchers also ran shops for treyf meat.[18] Everyone trusted their word of honor. The butchers had good relations with the slaughterers, and all proceeded in peace and quiet, almost without exception. Most of the butchers removed the prohibited fat and veins from the meat in order to render it kosher, without religious supervision. A slaughterer would occasionally come in, to watch them work. The community supervisor was Reb Avrom, who was called Reb Avrom the Trustee.[19] He would go from one shop to the next, and was honored everywhere. He was the only supervisor.

Some butchers also sold treyf meat that was not cleared of the prohibited meat and veins. But there would either be a small wall between the sections of kosher and treyf meat, or the two types would be sold in separate adjoining shops, so as not to mix them. The Jews in town, including the observant ones, did not mind the butchers who also dealt in treyf meat. Everything ran on the basis of trust, with no separate control.

We would like to mention the following butchers:

Mendel Guterman and his sons Arn and Avrom, near the “butchers' synagogue”; Shloyme-Arn the butcher's son, Mendel and Moyshe's brother with his son Hertz, in town near the clock; Yosl, Temme's son, a hassid; Yissokher Guterman (son of Dovid Guterman) and his partner Menashe Veksler; Moyshe-Yoyna Vinogradski, (he had two shops: one was kosher, next to his house in the old market, and the other was treyf, in the center; he was wealthy, also dealt in furs, and prayed in the Great Synagogue; he died of hunger in Siberia); the Leybish brothers, Meir and Yankl Polak, from Lithuania; Avrom-Khone Katzev[20] (Zbrizher); Alik Katzev; Yankl Pintchy-Rintchy (Segal) and his sons Meylekh (Elimeylekh), Shimen, and Gershn; Berl Peker; Yankl Muchnik, Binyomin Muchnik.



The porters had lower social status than their colleagues the cart-drivers. They could not afford horses and carts, and used their own muscles. They consoled themselves with the thought that a person need not be completely dependent on a horse, and thanked God for having shoulders healthy enough to carry sacks.

Zeyde, Nokhem Shuster's son, was actually blind. Nevertheless, he worked as a porter and carried sacks of flour on his back. They say that when a musician was missing from a wedding band, Zeyde was summoned, given two trays to hold, to beat out the rhythm.

Moyshe the Deaf would carry smaller packages throughout the town; he also put up posters for Yoyneh Zilberman's theater.

The porters, just like the cart-drivers, had trouble making a livelihood, yet they lived their lives with faith in God.


Blacksmiths and Wheelwrights

The cart-drivers supplied the blacksmiths and wheelwrights with a livelihood. The latter worked hard, but earned little.

Moyshe Kovel, the son of Yankl Kovel, was an important householder in the town, and a fine person.[21] He loved to tell stories about his military service. Another blacksmith was Arn, the son of Eliezer Pasternak. He later became a supervisor in a rubber factory in Czernowitz, and would help anyone from Khotyn who wanted to work there.

The most reputable wheelwrights in Khotyn were Faybush Stelmakh and Yankl Karetnik.[22] Also noteworthy were Itzik Stelmakh (Guterman) and Reb Hershl Stelmakh (Limanchik); the latter was a manager of the Great Synagogue. Many youths and apprentices worked in their shops.



The cart-drivers were a special social group in town. They had their own customs and life style. They would gather at the same place every morning, near Berl Vaysodler's, on the tailors' street. Customers would come there to order a freight wagon or a cart to carry packages.

The community consisted of several groups: some who had only hand-carts, water-carriers, drivers with one or two horses, drivers with phaetons who would drive passengers from one town to another, and drivers who would transport merchandise.[23]

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But they were, to a man, a community of toilers, honest people who worked hard for their meager livelihood, like the horses who helped them make a living.

Below are the names of some members of this unique community—Khotyn cart-drivers.

Moyshe Kuker (the Blind).[24] This was his nickname. Everyone then had a nickname. He worked outdoors all year round; his nose was swollen from the cold in winter, and his face was burned by the sun in summer. He prayed in Reb Velvl Beker's small synagogue. His sons, Shloyme and Shmuel, were murdered in the camps. His daughter Sarah stayed in Khotyn. Another daughter and a son left for Argentina.

Yosl Mednick, Yankl Mednick's son. He owned a broken-down little cart with a single horse, which provided his livelihood. He did everything slowly and carefully. He prayed in Reb Velvl's synagogue. They were descended from generations of cart-drivers, and their children also became cart-drivers.

Moyshe Bebaleh, nicknamed “six-palmed,” because one of his hands was six-fingered. He had a small white horse. Synagogue Street, where he lived, was always deep in mud; each time he went home, he barely managed to pull the horse out of the sticky clay. Moyshe Bebaleh was tall and slightly bent. Every time he swung a sack of flour over his shoulder, he would say, “Don't watch, you'll go blind with jealousy!”

Shloyme Sherevitzer, nicknamed “Shloyme Goy” because he was as healthy and as strong as a non-Jew. In winter he would stay in Sherevitz and make a living as a tailor.[25] In summer he would move to Khotyn and work as a cart-driver. Shloyme's sons, Yosl and Leyb, were murdered.

Laybush Kotik was bent over, with a long nose and a disheveled beard. His hat and jacket always seemed to be dipped in flour. He would always pull his horse, or it wouldn't move. Summer or winter, a bit of clothing always poked out from under his jacket – the reason for his name “Kotik”(otter). At home, he was constantly fighting with the children of his two wives—that was a really lively household…

Yankl Tshuntl (Vaynshteyn) mainly transported meat from the slaughterhouse. He thought himself important, and at the marketplace he would stand next to Berl Vaysodler. His sons also worked and made a good living.

Avrom, son of Mekhl Krepustman (Tatshanka) was a giant of a man. However, he had a slight limp. He would wait with his phaeton on Exchange Street, across from the boulevard. On Friday nights he would dress up and go to the Bes Medresh in the synagogue courtyard, together with his father. He would scare the non-Jews. When they raised their hands in anger, the rumor that Avrom was coming was enough to scatter them.

Yisroel-Hirsh Varvare, Khave-Yente Varvare's son was tall, with a black beard. He would sit atop his wagon like a strongman. On Friday afternoons, he would stop driving at 5:30. He would coat his boots with fish-oil and go to Velvele Beker's synagogue.

Yisrolik Balegole had a phaeton and worked together with his son Shloyme.[26] He would pray in the Mezhbazh synagogue.[27]

Yankl Patels had a phaeton for town, and a large freight wagon he would drive between towns, such as Czernowitz, Lipcan, Kamenetz-Podolsk, etc. He later bought a truck in partnership with his son-in-law and would transport merchandise to other towns. He would carry passengers on the return trip. In his free time, he would study Talmud or recite psalms.

Khayim-Yoel Katshuk (Rozenberg) had a phaeton with two horses. Although he was not considered learned, he was appreciated as a respected householder of the town.

Moyshe Igerkele was so called because he was small and thin.[28] As a child, he would lead his father by the hand; this was Zeyde Treger, who worked and carried sacks although he was blind.

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The Savings and Loan Bank

One of the most important institutions in the Khotyn economy was the Savings and Loan Bank. The bank was a cooperative, with its center in Kishinev.[29] Its membership was 900-1000. The bank was initially founded by the Joint, which later also supported it.[30] The philanthropist Khone Rays opened the bank in his home, where it functioned from 1930 on.

People from all levels of society received loans from this bank, rich merchants as well as poor people. The interest rates were low, and the attitude was friendly. Anyone who receivcd a loan pledged to contribute 60 lei a year to the Culture Fund.[31]

The bank's financial sources were members' deposits, aid from the Joint, and a fund created from members' contributions (300 lei). It also had Christian clients who worked at certain positions. They were not interested at developments in the bank; they were passive, and content to be individual clients. When the Kuzist party came to power, a Christian joined the bank's directors.[32] The bank's business was controlled by Engineer Osovkin of Kishinev, and Milshteyn of the Joint. The same building, Khone Rays's house, also housed the library. The bank officers volunteered their time in the library, which was maintained by a Culture Fund. Money was collected from the bank members (60 lei annually) as well as from library subscriptions and various grants. The Library Committee was also appointed by the bank's leadership. The most active person in this committee was Miron Derzhi. The bank was a lively center, which attracted all foreign visitors; meetings were held there.

The active leaders and trustees were Misha Shur, President; Miron Derszi, Vice-President. Committee members were Khayim Vaserman (a Talmud-Toyre teacher), Khayim-Sholem Rekhtman (a locksmith), Zusia Bronshteyn (a wood merchant), and Khayim-Leyb Derzhi, the chief accountant. Some of the other bank officials were Yankl Lerer, Pinye Royzman, Yisro'el Vaynboym (bookkeeper) and Shitnovitzer-Schmidt. The treasurer was Blushtin.

The bank played a role in all areas of community life. Every year, the large Purim Ball would be held there; the bank clerks were active in its organization. People from all levels of the community would come to the Ball. It would bring in 30-40,000 lei in revenue, money that went to the Jewish Hospital. The bank managers were Meir Landviger, Yisroel Barak, Hersh Feferman, Mutya Zaydman, Khayim Nulman, and Khayim Vaserman (bookkeeper).

The bank was established in 1910. The chief accountant was Moyshe Vartikovski; assistant bookkeepers were Khayim Vaserman (not the teacher), Khayim Leyb Derzhi, Zev Nayman. Treasurer and member of the management – Yisro'el Vaynboym. Assistant treasurer – Rulia Feldman.

After some time, when Moyshe Vartikovski and Khayim Vaserman left the bank, the chief accountant was Khayim-Leyb Derzhi, until the incoming Russians took over the bank.

Translator's footnotes:

  1. The dietary laws for all Passover foods are stricter than for everyday foods. Return
  2. According to the biblical description in the Book of Exodus, the Israelites left Egypt in great haste and could only take along unleavened, unrisen bread (Ex. 12, 39). Return
  3. Fairs were judged by their financial outcomes for the participants, whether positive or disappointing. Return
  4. Also known by other names, such as Klishkovtsy. Return
  5. I was unable to identify this forest. Return
  6. Traditionally, Jews are not buried in coffins but in plain wooden caskets. Return
  7. Many of these last names were borrowed from their bearers' trade. "Stolyer" means carpenter, "bodner"means bath-house attendant, "blekher" is tinsmith, "beker" is baker. Return
  8. "Treger" is Yiddish for "porter." Return
  9. Quotes in the original. Return
  10. The Yiddish "vaser-firer" means "water-carrier." Return
  11. "Tshayne" means "tea-house" in Russian. Return
  12. Shloyme Hillels (1873-1953) was a well-known Hebrew writer. Ha-Tekufah was an important Hebrew periodical devoted to literary, scientific, and social subjects which appeared (first as a quarterly, then as an annual) intermittently between 1918 and 1950. Return
  13. I could not identify this institution. Return
  14. One desyatin, an archaic Russian unit of land measurement, is roughly equal to 2.7 acres. Return
  15. The quote marks are in the original. Return
  16. External students were required to physically take their exams in the school with which they were affiliated. The gymnazya was similar to a present-day high school. Return
  17. Kosher refers to the strict Jewish dietary laws. Return
  18. Treyf is food that is forbidden because it does not adhere to the dietary laws. Return
  19. The Hebrew term ne'eman (faithful) is used here. Return
  20. Katzev means "butcher." Return
  21. Kovel means "blacksmith." Return
  22. Stelmakh means "wheelwright." Return
  23. A phaeton is a light open carriage. Return
  24. The Yiddish uses a euphemism for a blind person. The Yiddish "kuker" literally means "one who looks." Return
  25. I could not identify this place name. Return
  26. Balegole means "cart-owner." Return
  27. I could not identify this place name. Return
  28. Igerke is Yiddish for cucumber; igerkele is a diminutive. Return
  29. Present-day Chisinau, Moldova Return
  30. Short for the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), an American relief organization founded in New York during World War I. Return
  31. The lei is the Romanian currency. Return
  32. The Kuzists were a right-wing national Christian party. Return


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