David Falkovich

The Ragtag Mocked Us

On June 22, 1941 I was at the “dacha” with my parents. In the morning, I noticed the clouds break and heard the dull roar of engines. I thought it was a preparation for the aviation day. However, my father, who returned from the city that morning, said it was the war with Germany. General confusion reigned, and our family decided to flee to the east. Father was mobilized in early July and for a long time we had no information about him. Our route was to get to Stalinsk where our relatives lived. However, having reached the goal, we learned that we could not stay there, and we were sent to a collective farm. I managed to stay in the city, and it gave me the opportunity to attend school. Due to the evacuation wave, the children who studied there were rather literate. However, local teachers were not open-minded enough and antisemitism was not concealed.

In order to survive and not starve to death we were given land plots to cultivate, but we had no experience in it. During my school holidays I got a job as an apprentice mechanic, we were working for the front, and in addition, we were making metal monuments for dead soldiers. Besides the small payment, I was able to get the working cards for 800 grams of bread a day, while the children were given 600 grams. If the cards were stolen or someone lost the cards, they were condemned to death by starvation because the cards could not be restored. Despite extremely difficult times, we, the Jews, remembered our holidays and celebrated them as we could. We celebrated the «Purim», even with theatrical performances under the guidance of my grandfather who knew and worshiped the Jewish traditions.

Unfortunately, antisemitism did not cease after that, and the crown of it was the unwritten humiliation law for persons leaving for Israel. Today I live in Kiriat Bialik, at a hostel.