Jeanne Abajian


On the first day of the war, my mother left the apartment in Kiev, took her three children, some necessary things, and fled from the city which was bombed at four o'clock in the morning. With great difficulty, she took a cattle truck going to the Urals. When the train was bombed, we were hiding in the forest. There was no water, no food, no clothes. We were eating berries and mushrooms. The children were screaming. Some people demanded to strangle the children, so the Nazis wouldn’t hear their screams. But with God's help we survived.
It took us three months to arrive, despite of great difficulties to the village of Utevka in the Urals. The farmers gave us abandoned hut where we settled together with a few families. We cooked soups from potato peelings. My brother of ten years old and my sister of thirteen as well as my mother worked at the farm. I was left alone, as I was only two years old, I was waiting for them until the evening, I was hungry and cold.
We waited for our dad's return from the front. As a Jew, he was sent to serve in the city of Irkutsk in Siberia, where we lived at the time. He served in the Army for 40 years; we returned to Kiev and started new life without our apartment and money.


From Joseph Skarbovsky’s book “The Children of the War Remember the Taste of Bread”, Vol.2, Israel: Studio Fresco, 2016.