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elvira kohn

In the war, my father was an Austro-Hungarian soldier [in the KuK army] [1] and was imprisoned by the Serbs in Nis in 1915. In the place where he was captured, there were many typhus patients and my father was also infected with typhus. He died in 1915 in Nis and was buried there. I was only one year old when my father died and I practically never met him. All I know about my father is from the stories that my mother told me and from a few pictures that I still have.
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After Kolodvorska Street, we moved to Daniciceva Street, and then to King Aleksandar Street, that was the name then, I don't know what it's called today. We lived in a one-story house with three rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. We didn't have running water but we had a well in our backyard. Vinkovci had a gas plant, so we had gas and not electricity. We used it for heating and cooking. Apart from a few fruit-trees and a small garden, we didn't have anything else in the backyard.
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baby pisetskaya

In 1914 my grandfather Yakov was mobilized to serve in World War I. He was captured by Austrians and spent two years in captivity. He returned home in 1917 and began to build a house with Grandmother Beila.
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Jankiel Kulawiec

The Germans had taken him for forced labor during World War I, and it was while doing that forced labor that he fell ill.
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Mico Alvo

My grandmother's sister Mathilde was the same age as my father. My father was born in 1889, she must have been born either in 1890 or in 1888, sometime around then. There was a big age difference with Daniel. Mathilde had a daughter from another marriage.

Grandfather was widowed, she too, and so they got married. It was then a custom to marry the sister of your wife, if both of you were left widowed. And even the Jewish religion suggests doing so. The religion says that if your brother dies and his wife becomes a widow, someone from the family should marry her in order to maintain her.

Mathilde Gattegno spoke Ladino really well and French fluently. She also spoke Greek, but not as well. She couldn't write in Greek, but she spoke it, especially because most of her maids were Greek. She didn't speak any Turkish. She went to school at the Alliance where she learned French.

Before she got married, during World War I, when the allies were here, she opened, or rather the family opened, a shop for her in which she sold souvenirs for the soldiers. And it did really well. She was pretty and she spoke French, which was something that the soldiers couldn't find everywhere.

At the time of World War I, many women started working out of necessity. They would sell things like that; they would do the easy work. After she became a widow, and maybe also before she got married, she worked at her brother's school, the Gattegno.

Mathilde used to speak about World War I while my mother didn't. I remember that they had in their house all sorts of flags, because once the English would come around, then the French, then the Italians, and then the Romanians.

She got married to Grandfather Daniel after the Great Fire. They were already married when I was born, because I remember they left me with them when I was one year old, and that they got married before my uncle and before my father. I think that my father was already married in 1920.
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I remember we also celebrated the day of the end of the war, which was on 11th November, I think. [The armistice treaty between the Allies and Germany was signed on 11th November 1918, and marked the end of World War I on the Western Front.] We celebrated that at school. They would gather us all together, and some children would have poems to deliver.
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Janina Duda

My parents told me that during World War I, Germans gave the Schmidts flour for baking bread and the Schmidts gave that flour to their neighbors, it didn’t matter to them if they were Jewish or Polish, they gave it to everyone.
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gabor paneth

My father Lajos was born in 1887 in Papa. He grew up in a very religious environment. He went to the local Jewish elementary school and also spent a year in yeshiva. He then graduated from the Teacher Training College in Papa and became an elementary school teacher. He first taught in the Jewish elementary school in Nagymarton (one of the so-called sheva kehilot, the "seven communities" of Jews in the present-day province of Burgenland, Austria), but was soon transferred to Liptoszentmiklos, in what is now Slovakia. He met his first wife Margit Erdos here. She was a beautiful woman, the daughter of an atheist social democrat. They married in 1910 and moved to Budapest. My father started to become more and more secular because of the bad experiences he had had with the Jewish community when still in Liptoszentmiklos.

During World War One, he served on the Russian front, and he reached the position of lieutenant. During the Counterrevolution, the 1918 civil revolution, he was put on the redundancy list for political reasons. In 1925 he got a job again as an elementary school teacher in a state school. He worked there until World War Two, and then continued teaching after the end of that war as well. His first wife, who had chronic heart disease, died in 1924, and Lajos married again a year later.
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Isroel Lempertas

I know hardly anything about my father's family. I remember grandfather David Lempert lived in Latvia, in the town Daugavpils, but I do not know if he was born there. In my father's words David was born in the middle of 19th century. Father said that grandfather David dealt with timber trade and was a rather well-off. Judging by the portrait hanging in our house, where David is with beard, with a kippah on his head and from the scares tales of my father I can say that grandfather was a religious Jew. During World War One, father's family was also exiled. In my father's words grandfather refused to live in Kharkov [Ukraine, 440 km from Kiev], where he worked in some offices of the Soviet Army. When the war was over, the family returned to Lithuania. I cannot say when grandfather David died. I think it happened before the family came back to the Baltic country. Maternal grandmother, petite lean woman, with her head always covered, lived with us. I do not remember even her name. Her health was very poor and she mostly stayed in her room in bed. We just called her grandmother. I remember her lighting candles on the Sabbath eve. She read her thick shabby prayer book while she was able to see. When I was five, i.e. in 1930, grandmother died. She was buried in accordance with the Jewish tradition in the Mazeikiai Jewish cemetery. I do not know anything about father's siblings. I think he was an only son. At least I do not remember any talks about siblings.
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I do not know anything about my maternal grandmother. She died long before I was born. I do not remember any tales about her. I do not even know her name. When the World War One was unleashed, Jews from frontier territories, namely Kaunas province, including Mazeikiai which was part of that province during Tsarist times, were exiled to the remote districts of Russia. Anti- Semitistic tsarist military authorities deemed that propinquity of Yiddish and German and vast difference of Jewish appearance and mode of life from the rest of peoples, inhabiting that territory, would incline Jews to the espionage. Many Jewish families from Baltic countries turned out be exiled. My mother's family was exiled to Berdyansk, warm Ukrainian town on the coast of the Sea of Azov [1000 km to the south from Kiev]. When Lithuania gained independence [1] almost all Jews came back to the motherland. The family of Faivush Levinson also returned. I cannot say whether my grandmother was alive. As far as I remember grandfather Faivush lived in the house of one of my aunts. He died in 1933. He was buried in Mazeikiai Jewish cemetery in accordance with the Jewish rite. I was not present at the funeral. It was not customary for Jews to take children to the funerals of the relatives.
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Miklos Braun

My mother managed to look after the three children practically alone throughout World War One. We went to Gyimesbukk afterwards – which was the former Romanian border – and from there, we escaped when the invasion came. It was a mess there, explosions and other things. I can remember only the trenches because I was quite young at the time. We came back to Budapest in 1917. My father had six war medals, and had been wounded twice. That is why he received thirty forints disability pension for a while, plus one forint as child support. That was my monthly pocket money.
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leon solowiejczyk

feiga tregerene

My father Isroel Glezer was born in Birzai in 1891. The only education he got was at cheder. He had to start work and became a painter's apprentice, when he was still very young. Very soon my father surpassed his master and became the best expert in painting. He was highly skilled and did fine work, which required artistic skills. The climate in Lithuania is humid, the winters are cold and damp, and people tend to have all renovations done during the summer. To have work to do in winter, my father learned how to engrave on granite gravestones in the Jewish cemetery. When World War I began, my father was drafted into the army. In less than a year's time he was wounded and shell-shocked. He was taken to a hospital in Kiev [today Ukraine]. When he recovered, he was dismissed from the army. When he returned home, his father Fayvel had already passed away, and my father took to work. He also helped my grandmother about the house. In 1919 my father married my mother. She also came from Birzai. My father knew her since they were young.
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Liya Kaplan

Jewish families were large at that time and there were twelve children in Grandfather's family. Apart from my father Isaac, born on 16th April 1886, I knew only two of them: his brother Iosif and his sister Vikhne. The family was truly Jewish, which was customary for that time. Jewish traditions were kept: they went to the synagogue, observed the Sabbath and Jewish holidays at home. Yiddish was the mother tongue of my father and his siblings. The sons went to cheder. I think they got a secular education as well. My grandparents died long before I was born. I have never seen them, not even in a picture.

From his childhood my father helped my grandfather at work; it was from him that my father learned the profession of a tailor. My father said that before the outbreak of World War I he was drafted into the tsarist army. Even as a child, my father had an ear for music and he was admitted to the regiment orchestra. He played the trumpet and violin. Upon his return from the army, my father got married and my parents settled in Tallinn. Of course, they had a traditional Jewish wedding; it couldn't have been any other way.
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Gizela Fudem

During World War I her family escaped from Tarnow to Vienna and most likely Mom brushed up her German there.
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