Victor Yosif Molho in a forced labor camp in Devin

Victor Yosif Molho in a forced labor camp in Devin

On this photo you can see my father, Victor Yosif Molho, in a forced labor camp in the village of Devin. He is the first on the left, sitting on the stones. I don’t know who the other men are. Because of the bad conditions there he got diabetes and high blood pressure. Those diseases led to his early death in Israel in 1966. The year is 1942. There is no writing on the back, only the seal of the photographic studio Mimosa Sunotyp.

It must have been 1941 or 1942. Danger was in the air. In fact, now I come to think of it, we received information about what was happening from many sources. We also discussed it at home. In the evenings we talked about the Law for the Protection of the Nation. We read it article by article and interpreted what we were allowed to do and what we were banned from doing. Because of that law we had to change our apartments. We didn’t have any unused living space for them to confiscate, but we had to move to the other apartment. The apartment opposite my grandmother Zelma was ours. We rented it to a family. We had to move to live there and the tenants moved to the one we had lived in.

The men were put in labor camps. My father was mobilized to the labor camps in the villages of Mihalkovo [that labor camp corrected the bed of the Vacha River] and Devin. He would come back very exhausted and haggard. He wasn’t cut out for manual labor, his usual work was very different and that was naturally reflected in his health. After the camps he had problems with his blood pressure and got diabetes. I don’t remember if he told us any details about the camps because I was young then, only 13 years old.

Supporting the family was very hard; we had to sell our piano. We also sold our quilts, of which we had plenty and our crystal dinner sets. I remember that we used to knit socks from unraveled table cloths. We were very poor. My mother found it very hard. I remember that we were so poor and for a long time we were unable to buy even one new dress and we dressed very humbly.

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