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Henrich Kurizkes

14th June 1941 is a memorial date for all Estonian residents. At night the Soviet authorities deported Estonians [25]. The lists for deportation were ready before night. They included the wealthier Estonian, Jewish and Russian residents. Soviet authorities had access to all banking documents and had no problems finding the wealthier residents. Estonian communists also took part in generating the lists and I suspect many people were included in the lists for personal dislikes or jealousy. There were also some suspected of a disloyal attitude to the Soviet power, political activists of the pre-Soviet epoch, wealthy farmers and also those whose residence seemed attractive to the newcomers on these lists.

A truck with NKVD [26] soldiers drove to a house, people were given limited time to get packed and that was it. Trains waited at the railway station. Men were separated from their families. They were sent to the Gulag [27], and members of their families were moved to Siberia. In total about ten thousand people were deported on 14th June. This was quite a significant number, particularly considering that the total population in Estonia accounted to one million people.

My mother's younger sister Rosa, whose marital surname was Klompus, was also on those lists. The Klompus family was probably one of the wealthiest families in Tartu. My aunt's husband's father owned a whole neighborhood of apartment buildings and also had some other property. In his will he assigned his property to Wolf, my aunt's husband. He said that his other sons would either drink or gamble it away. So, in the end only Wolf, Rosa and their son Anatoliy were deported.
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tili solomon

Until 1960 I lived on Socola Street with my parents. Then the systematization began and our house was demolished to make room for apartment houses. My father died on 5th or 6th April 1960, a few months before the house was demolished. But by then, we already knew we had to move out. My father died of a heart condition. We got a new place on Cuza Voda Street. I was pregnant already. We got two rooms, a kitchen, and bathroom in a basement. We were actually three people, not four, because one could hardly notice that I was pregnant. We had tap water, plumbing, water closet, but there were many downsides too. For instance, whenever it rained heavily, the apartment got flooded. At that time most of the Jews got new apartments either in the basement or on the last floor, so there was a sort of discrimination. I lived there for 24 years. In 1984, when the date for my daughter's wedding had already been settled, my husband received a three-room apartment on Garii Street. After they got married my daughter and her husband lived with us until my son-in-law received a studio apartment. My mother died in January 1986. She lived with us until she passed away.
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As far as I remember, Iasi had many synagogues and prayer houses. Counting from Podul Ros to the Marzescu School, no, I don't even go as far as the Marzescu School, to Tesatura [factory], there were at least ten synagogues, well, prayer houses, where my parents used to go. There were four of them only in a small corner. Further away, after Targul Cucului [Editor's note: quarter of Iasi, where the Jewish population was predominant until World War II], there were others: two or three on Halei Street, and just as many on Independentei Boulevard, which was called I. C. Bratianu back then. The one at Kantarski survived for a long time. Not to mention the Cahane synagogue on Stefan cel Mare Boulevard: this was only demolished in the communist period, in the process of urban systematization [see Systematic demolitions] [6]. Today there are only two synagogues left in Iasi, both of them Orthodox [7]. One of them is the Great Synagogue in Targul Cucului, where a service is held only on Saturdays. I think there is also a Friday evening service in the other synagogue, on Palat Street, where the few Jews from Podul Ros gather.
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Gracia Albuhaire

I visited the town on a school graduation anniversary, and the first place I went to was the Jewish neighborhood. I was terrified because I couldn't find my father's house. I saw my neighbor 'Americata' by chance and she led me to the place where a big residential estate had been built. I asked her where the nice well had vanished to with the cold water we had once drunk from. The pear tree, the trellis vine had also disappeared. The well was now in the basement of the living estate, plugged up and quite useless. Uncle Yuda's house, which was opposite ours, looked dark, plain and abandoned. It looked like a shack, although it had once been stately, beautiful and large. I was very saddened. The well next to the school, from where the whole city took water, had also vanished.
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In Karnobat not only the synagogue has been destroyed but also all the Jews have left since 1948, in large groups. Today there is not a single Jew in the town. Even the Jewish neighborhood, which had once been so lively, is now populated with Bulgarians who came from the nearby villages. The name of the street has been changed to 'Ivan Vazov', although people still say that they live in the Jewish quarter.
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Liya Kaplan

We felt lucky and surprised at the same time not to have been included in the list of those exiled. I don't know how we managed to stay safe. I guess, another stage of exile might have been planned, if Germany hadn't attacked the USSR. The war was unleashed. It was called the Great Patriotic War [24] in the Soviet Union.

I met my husband-to-be Marcus Kaplan in the last but one grade at school. I went to see my relatives in Tartu. Whilst there I met a Jewish girl named Berta, who had graduated from the Estonian Philology Department of Tartu University and taught Estonian at Tartu Jewish school. Berta and I had a frank conversation and it wasn't long before we both felt like we had been friends for ages. Berta suggested showing me Tartu. On our way we called on her brother Marcus, who owned a small store downtown. Berta introduced me to him and said that we were on the way to a café and asked if he'd join us, if he'd like to. Berta and I went to a café and after a couple of minutes Marcus came in. We spent some time together and then Berta tactfully left, leaving Marcus and I to spend the whole day together.

We started seeing each other after that. Marcus came to Tallinn, and I made trips to Tartu. Both of my parents liked Marcus and things were evolving, so I was to marry him after leaving school. Marcus was born in Tartu in 1912. His parents were no longer alive. His sister Berta and brother Abram lived in Tartu. His other brother and sister lived in Kazan, in the USSR. They left there before the revolution to study, but then they couldn't come back.

In 1941, Jewish schools were closed down in Estonia by the new regime. Our Jewish school was turned into secondary school. Our 12th grade was left and we finished our studies in early June 1941. The war was unleashed in two weeks.
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My father's store was confiscated. He was a kind man and treated his employees very well; he was loved by everybody. When my father was told to give the keys of the store to a commissar [21] who had been assigned to run the store, all the workers started to talk the commissar into letting my father stay, but my father wasn't willing to. It was the end of our trouble.

When we were still in our house, one man came and told Father to pay a huge tax to the state. I don't remember the exact amount. When my father asked why he was supposed to pay, since his store had been taken, the man just told him not to ask silly questions and give the money. My mother gave him her jewelry and he left. In two weeks he showed up again and named a new sum for the tax. My mother gave away her diamond rings. When he came for the third time we were in Nomme. He said that we were supposed to give the state all our precious belongings, table silverware and so on. My mother gave him everything and my parents were nervously awaiting another visit. They packed a suitcase and when a car passed by our house, we feared that it was the NKVD [22] coming after us.

The 14th of June 1941 was a dreadful day, remembered in Estonian history as the day of deportation [23]. It was the day when the Soviet regime exiled over 10,000 Estonian citizens to Siberia. There were Jews among them, but most of those exiled were Estonians. The majority of those exiled were political activists and soldiers of the Estonian army. They were arrested before, but exiled on that day. Intelligentsia and wealthy people were also exiled. There were people who were exiled by accident. It must have been the case that some people were included in the list simply because they were disliked.

My mother's brother Nisson Tsipikov and his family were also exiled, though they were poor people. My uncle was in the Gulag. Every day they had to walk to the work site, 20 kilometers from the camp. My uncle was involved in timbering, he cut trees. He had never done anything like this before, and he barely survived there. His teeth fell out and he became unable to do any work. By a miracle, Nisson was exempt from the camp due to poor health. He didn't live long though; he died in the 1950s. His wife died in exile as well.
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Jeni Blumenfeld

The house, in which we lived, on the Transilvania Street, wasn’t our own but a rented house. The houses from that zone do not exist anymore, they were demolished and apartments were built instead of them.
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Ida Alkalai

After September 1944 we didn’t go to the synagogue, although it was opened. But after, most of the Jews immigrated to Israel from 1948 to 1950. It was then closed and used as some kind of a warehouse. Later, unfortunately, it was demolished and the Home of Techniques was built in its place. As far as I know the synagogue was built in 1599. I don’t know who made the decision to demolish it. The decision was made in Sofia. The Jewish organization in Dupnitsa didn’t stop working though.
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Geta Jakiene

We were a family. Soon I got pregnant and my husband insisted that I should leave my work. I became a housewife since that time. My Kalmin was an ordinary worker. He worked for glazer’s shop. In soviet times he made pretty good money. Kalmin was a very kind person. He always gave me his salary and never asked me to report to him. I was rather economical and we lived comfortably. We had not lived for long in my small room. Soon, my pals helped us get a small apartment in the old part of the city. Later on, in the 1970s, the house was demolished and we were given the apartment in the district where we are still living. We hung it together with my husband. In summer we rented a dacha either in Palanga or in Prenai. We also went to the resorts, e.g. to Druskenkai, where we had mineral water. We had never owned a dacha. Husband bought a car in the early 1960s and we went on vacation by car. We almost did not go to the theaters. I enjoyed reading. I read a lot of books of Russian classics, Jewish and European authors.
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Marcel Simon

In my childhood I lived in a house, in a small house on 10 Mirautilor Street. After that I moved from there, because I inherited a house from aunt Sophie right across from the market. After I invested money in that, it was demolished, and they gave us a very small amount of money at that time. 5 years ago with this restitution law I also made an application, because they told me that they would give me the value difference from that time. But I haven’t gotten anything so far. Now my wife and I live in a flat and we live off our pension, we don’t have any other income.
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I have gone through many difficulties: I remained alone here, my house has been demolished, I have been married before, she was also Romanian, I have gone through a divorce and many other things…
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Ietti Leibovici

We lived separately during the years after we got married – from 1954 until 1972.

My father-in-law had his own house, but systematization [9] came, and his house was to be demolished. It was located on Calea Nationala St., on the way to the train station, close to the tramline. And we lived in a rented house not far from there, on a street a bit to a side, it was called Casin St.

And in 1971, when my father-in-law’s house was demolished, we decided to move in a somewhat larger house, where he could have his own room, where we could be together. And we moved in a house located on Calea Nationala as well, but closer to the downtown area, where we had 4 rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, a verandah, a pantry – it was still rented. I lived there until 1981, until my father-in-law’s death. As I was alone, I moved here in 1981 [in an apartment in a block of flats].
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After my father came, I actually went to Vatra Dornei with him. The store had been emptied, and it served a completely different purpose, it functioned as a Loto-Prono Sport terminal [National Lottery terminal]. But after a year or two, when we returned to Dorna, the entire row of stores was demolished – there were some 3-4 stores –, and a cinema is built on that place, on that area.
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Solomon Meir

Our house was on Calea Nationala St. It was demolished when the systematization arrived. In exchange, we received an apartment in a block of flats, where I still live to this day.
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