Haia Sulimzohn as a young woman


This is my mother, Haia Sulimzohn, as a young woman. The date on the back of the photograph is 20th July 1916, I believe it was taken in Bucecea.

My mother, Haia Sulimzohn, was born in Bucecea. She was 6-7 years younger than my father, David Sulimzohn. She didn't attend secondary school either, she stopped going to school after graduating primary school. But she had a private tutor - employed by my grandfather -, and she took French and German lessons. She was a beautiful woman. She was more severe than my father, he was gentler than her.

My parents' marriage was an arranged marriage, as was the custom in those days. They didn't talk about their marriage, but they had both a civil and a religious ceremony.

We lived in Dorohoi. My mother was a housewife, and my father was a trader. We had a hosier's shop in Dorohoi that my father inherited from his father. The store was located in the house where we lived, in the old downtown area of Dorohoi. The street was called Grigore Ghica, opposite our house there was a cinema which no longer exists. The house was as old houses are, the rooms were placed like in a train carriage, without separate entrances, and it was very dark inside - we had the lamps burning during the day as well. We had two rooms and there was a small kitchen in the courtyard with a tiny adjoining room that we built. The store was in a larger room in front of the house - it was the only room that was spacious and well lit.

My mother was less of a zealot. She lit candles on Friday evening, but she wasn't that strict about the separation of meat and milk. The rule about having separate dishes for milk and meat is a very complicated business and, in addition, you must have a lot of dishes. She did have separate dishes for meat and milk, but she would mix them. As for washing the dishes, she washed them all together.

She didn't have a wig, nor did she cover her head. She attended the synagogue only during the autumn holidays, that was all. My grandmother attended the religious service every Saturday, but she didn't. My mother used to light 2 candles. Since my grandmother was more devout, she had 4 candlesticks and she lit a candle in each of them; my mother had 2 candlesticks and she would light two candles and recite the prayer. The candlesticks were placed on the table where we sat down to eat.

Photo details


Sura Milstein