Elizabeth Waiser’s mother Maria Braverman

My mother Maria (Mindl) Braverman, nee Shein. Photo made in Bairamcha, Saratsk district, Izmail province, Romania, in 1938.

My parents were religious and were raising us religious. They always celebrated Shabbat. My mother didn't cook on Saturday. She did her shopping and cooking on Friday morning. My mother cooked enough food to last for two days and put it in the oven that kept it warm for few days. In winter our non-Jewish neighbor came to start a fire in the stove. On Friday we sat to dinner after the evening prayer and lighting candles. We had Gefilte fish. My mother was best at making fish. She also made halas. There was a bakery in the town, but my mother preferred her own halas. She said they tasted different. My mother also made a boiled chicken.

My mother didn't work. She was a housewife. In evacuations she spent her time receiving bread and cereals per our food coupons. She had to get up early to stand in lines. Sometimes she had to stand in lines a whole day. My mother didn't have any warm clothes with her. It was a very cold winter and my mother had continuous colds. She also had to bring and cut wood for the stove and fetch water from the ice-covered well. My mother was doing her best to make something eatable from what was available. She did not wear wig.

We had no information about my brothers before 1944. My mother kept crying.

In 1944 we packed our things and moved to the village of Storozhenets not far from Chernovtsy. We were allowed to move into an empty house. My mother didn't work. She became very sickly in evacuation. Doctors diagnosed heart problems that she had. Her condition got worse gradually and in 1951 my mother fell very ill and had to stay in bed. My father and I were looking after her. Shortly after we moved to Storozhenets my three brothers came to see us. They were all married and after short meeting with us have leave to they families.

My mother was very sad when my brothers left. When she was dying she said that a flame of yearning for her children was burning in he heart. My mother died in 1953. She was 52 years old. My father and I buried her according to the Jewish tradition at the Jewish corner of the cemetery in Storozhenets. I missed my mother so much. I wore mourning clothing and my eyes were always full of tears.