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They All Stand Before My Eyes (cont.)


We were six brothers and sisters.

My brother Yosef was the first to “sin” and smoke on the Sabbath. He studied in Dvinsk [Daugavpils], and afterwards worked as a merchant in Utena. He married Feige Mordechowitz from Dusiat, and I remember that my father opposed the match. One day we received a telegram from Kovno, informing us that they had married. My mother cried and my father was angry! I actually liked Feige. She was a student in Dvinsk, was small and pretty, with a long braid… For a long time they didn't come to see us, but when their son, my parents' first grandchild, was born, relations were restored. They had three children, and while I attended the progymnasium [high school] in Utian [Utena] I lived with them. Then I went to learn bookkeeping at my relative Michl Shapira's factory.

When we all left the shtetl, my brother Kehat remained the only one to help my mother in the shop. My father was already sick. Kehat married Leah from Obeliai.


Kehat Kagan son of Asher and Chava-Leah nee Chatzkel
In the background, the Hassidic Minyan


They all stand before my eyes …


“The first Sabbath with the new couple: Kehat and LeahJanuary 5, 1936”
Right to left: Henia Levitt (daughter of Yosef and Freidl nee Chatzkel), groom and
bride Kehat and Leah, Kehat's parents Chava-Leah and Asher (peeking through
the window), (-), (-), (-), Elka Charit, Rivka Orlin, Rivka Shub
and her sister Chava (these three on the left), and the little boy Chanochl Schwartz


Pessia and her husband Arye-Leibtzig and their children
Feivel and Yaacov, 9 October, 1934. Their son Asher was born later


My sister Pessia – the oldest of the girls – had wavy red hair and dark skin. She helped my mother a great deal, and in fact she raised us and also helped in the shop. We had a sewing machine at home and Pessia sewed sheets and pillowcases, and also knitted and embroidered. In contrast to Pessia, I, for example, was not talented at handicrafts.

Among her friends were Yehuda Slep, Chaya-Tema and Dvora Levitt. I remember that they used to sit and sing and play the guitar, together with Meir Levitt and Berl-Dov Levitt. They also used to dance, and I used to peek and enjoy their singing and entertainment. I was really envious! Their most beautiful get-togethers were late on Saturday afternoon. This was during the period before my activities in the “movement”.

Pessia married Arye-Leibtzig from Obeliai. They bought a house and managed a store. They also had three children.


Freidke Kagan in her Youth


My sister Freidke was beautiful, with black braids. She was friends with Elka Slep and Batya Shub, who were close to her in age. She loved to have a good time, and absolutely did not like housework, and didn't want to help! My mother used to get angry, but Freidke did what she wanted. She went several times to visit my brother Yosef in Utena. At the time he lived in a rented apartment, and the landlord, David Feler, fell in love with her (he was older than her). They married and had three children: Nechemya, Reuven and Asher.

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