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SUMMARY OF UNCLE SOL'S REMNISCENCES ~ July 1, 1995 at his home 2859 Leonard Drive G 206 No.

Miami Beach, FL

Earliest (Staridrokev), a high value ~traveling I was born,

recollections when I was on education,

go back to tie village of Altdrokev about 5 years )ld. My parents, who put

had, up to tbLs time, engaged various the childr:m at horne. By the time arl sisters were already cho :3ea different way for my

me Leme de ' to tutor

some of my older brothers My parents

grown and had left horne. education. Surazh,

At the age of 5, I was sent from the village to a sor-t+o f


the nearest city, I was boarded

ty seat, about 12 miles

away, where

at the home 01 a -melamed' who had set the son of one of the itinerant earlier'. little <hildren who were sent to From early morning at a there

up his own school; he was

"me Leme de " that I mentioned I was one of several live with this -melamed' throughout table


and his family.

the whole day the other boys and I sat on benches saw the s1nlight or outdoors,

and -learned'; we never

were no games, we would - later reference

sit and learn tle whole time.

(Ed. note

- "Up to the time t.he

was pr-e t t.y m i ee r-ab Le ; when wonderful.")

I went to gimnazij'a , it, . I started g i: nazi'ya/ it we e


The only time I remember years was for the holidays. to Altdrokev, would

getting b .ck horne during those I don't rem.mber how I would get back or one ,f the older siblings

perhaps my father

come by horse and wagon

to take m: home, it was a long trip I

in those days .. I remember w~s maybe

on my holida' breaks and on Shabbas, I would wa.k with the family to


9 or 10 years old,

Naydrokev We would


a neighboring family

vi ,lage about 4 miles away.

visit the Ryanyen

(i.e., the Roses); they were

one of about 10,Jewish

.vie were


in that ',illage (in our village, They


the only Jewish


uld even have a minyan


They had Torah scrolls,

which we: e kept in'the home of

one of the families who had a house big (nough for their storage. 'I remember, from the Ryanyen family Gussie-s grandfather

(Aunt Gussie Osheroff) inclined. for picking

was a Hazzan;

the Roses were mue i.ce Ll.v

From an early age, I liked mu; ic and I had a talent up and playing all kinds of


I especially and when I went

liked the Hazzanische to Novidrokev play music


I had a mandolin

I used to like to get toge' her with the Roses and I had a mandolin,


and Benny had a guitar;

in later years we ,used to play music 'on -he ship when we were coming to America. of my father and of my life at home

Here are some memories and in the village. always

My father was a lealned scholar and he He wa~ highly regarded by the

had his head in the' books. in the village;


they looked up 10 him as someone who I remmber that the houses in

could help out in all' situations. the village villagers fire. special Talmud, had thatched

roofs and one ceught , on fire, the


came running

to my father for }elp~ and he put out the his knowledge which and relieved that he had

They respected

powers of healing, Gemara, Kabbala,

stemmed from his study of


There was ~n incident with a cow and the peasants ran to my father

that was choking on something,

who thrust his hand down the animal-s

thrJat, dislodged the

, ,

.foreign The gather


and saved the cow. They liked to

~Goyim" always used to come to cur house. Itwas almost


like a. comnn nity or social center.

.I'hev were

in awe of my father and of the 'whole family, but at the in ou: home. They respected times, when we bad

same time they always felt welcome us and they ~protected" us.

There were: orne scary

were' made to feel very uneasy. time. The villagers

Easter w.. an especially s

would go to church, where some of them, not up listenL.g and they


all of them, would get worked them would be drinking there, enraged,

to the priest; some of out, drunk and

.u Ld come

ready to beat up their Jews.

M ,st of the people did not

do this .. They remained drunken doors. element for. neighbors;

sober and wou Ld uio t join in with their and close their rowdy

they would go into th ~ir homes when

There was one occasion

some of the drunken,

stormed our house, but they goi Iwre than

they bargained beat them

My Uncle

rOche, who was v4ry stron~ and powerful, We were worri~d because

up and sent them packing. that their they simply what high

we thought But

friends and neighbors ignored the whole

would come after us. :elt that

thing and

these thugs got

they deserved. regard



it was a mark of the respect and


that they had f cz- my father

and f oz- o uz-


was always very good to them, and t~~y liked her. I"che (my father"s brother) lived with us. As a




My Uncle young

child he had gotten sick with

one )f the childhood )r speak .. But he nan and he wasn"t afraid Alwas

disea~es. developed to fight.

After that he could not hear physically into a very strong

My brother Benny was also afLghter.

a city

boy, and I was a good student both


in HE Jrew school

and in the

gimnazija. Once when I was st~ll pretty Revolution, vodka. Army. vodka was. some soldiers came young, i~ was after the looking for

into the vi.lage

I don~t know if they were

from the White Army or the Red

They wanted me to show them who in ~he village was making and where it was stored. I told the

I didn~t know who it

I was trying

I had to take them around

and all th3 while

to or


that I didnJt know who it was, and even if I had known who it was, I was smart enough t) know that I had to it was. Lu~kily, they let me go


say I didn~t know who or where unharmed. My father was the manager belonged to the local gentry.

or overseer There were where

of the estate that n ()ble.w 0y\e>", ~wo sisters who were chey gre\'i apples,

the owners. pears, plums.

They rented an orchard

My father was responsible in the spring

f)r watching



I remember

(the otler boys were older and

off doing other things by that time) my faeher would take me to the orchard the trees. and ask me to estimate I remember that the prciuction of the fruit on

I had figured

)ut some way to do this

and it was pr-etty good, and I remember the orchard, and he depenqed on me.

gOjlg with my father to the jruit


was ripening,

it had to bewatchedS"that to be picked father head

no one would

at.e 3.1' it, and then it had I remember that my

and taken to Surazh

and sold.

worked but not wholeheartedly;

he ~')uld rather have his

in a book. There was also the fish business.


put nets into the


-- the Iput River~

They were big nets and we would catch


and sart them out and then go

'the fish and dump them in the house to Surazh by horse

and wagon' to sell them. of my father was at ny Bar Mitzva. I guess

One other memory it was with around 1920.

My father came to SU1:3.zh and went to Shul that was expectsd of me. I had


I did everything

learned me. being

well and I did it well anything

and my f at.I: was sr about anyor ~C) else

there to hear in the family

I don Jt remember

there -- just my father. Sometime after my Bar Mitzva

and'r1.fheime we left for t tc immigrate. They began It was to


the family began to make plans to leave the village Children

to prepare after

for a mOVE: to Surazn. were

the Revolution.

suppcsed to go to school,

the gimnazija. gimnazija friends;

I must have been about

and this is where

life began.


11 or 12; I entered the Jhere I made a lot of

I loved learning; mathematics

wa~ one of our subjects.

Up to that time life was miserable; being in the gimnazija. Sometime Surazh.

but n(w it was fun; I liked

ar-ound 1920, or a little af1 er, the family moved (specially


It was a bad time for everyone,

for the Jews. The in

The Communist. system was in place and was growing family Surazh United was exploring ways to get to Ameri<a.



our home

until we could go to Riga which waf w.1i.ere left for the we States in August, 1923 on a Baltic America Liner, the

Estonia. On the way over, aboard ship, everyb<dy, sisters were sick. But I was fine, Sonya, Fanya, all my brothers and

I didl 't get sick, and I out on



they weJe all stretched in.

the boards,

and I carried all the luggage


On the way over,

on the ship, I played the mandolin,

Benny played

the guitar, and

we used to entertain the other passengers When we got to Ellis had a problem There were turned country Island, it was ;ouch and go. Gertrude

with a fingernail.

Benny h d some chest problems.

other problems

and we were afr id that we would be out and we all entered the


But it was straightened

as a whole family.