Marim Haller with Rozica Weissman

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This is I, Marim Haller - the one on the right -, with Rozica Weissman, a friend of mine from Dorohoi. David Kesler lived in Dorohoi, I visited him there and that's how I made Rozica's acquaintance. The date on the back of the photograph reads 13th June 1936, it must have been taken in Dorohoi.


I was born in Harlau in 1915. Officially, my name is Marim, but people call me Maly. I was named after a neighbor whom my mother knew. I believe we lived in Harlau until I was about 10. And afterwards we moved to Botosani, my mother and I. We lived in a rented house on Dragos Voda St., which had 2 rooms and a kitchen, and mother would rent one of the rooms to tenants - she rented one of the rooms, and we lived in the other room - so that we could get by, she rented the room to pupils - that's how life was in those days!


We used mixed languages at home - both Romanian and Jewish, Yiddish. I knew a little Hebrew, but I forgot it. I didn't learn it at the cheder, I took private lessons - I paid for and received private lessons -, but very few. I might have been 9-10. I started receiving private lessons from a teacher. He used to come over at our place, if not, I would go to his - it varied. In fact, he wasn't an actual teacher, he simply knew Hebrew. But I dropped out afterwards.


My mother, my uncle - they were pious people. I couldn't say the same for myself. My mother was religious. She cooked 100% kosher. That's what we had at home - kosher. There was no other way in those days. Almost everyone kept kosher. People didn't eat milk and meat mixed together. And they didn't mix the milk dishes with those for meat, everything was kept separate. I didn't really observe this tradition. That's life.


I used to light candles on Friday night, and I still do, to this day. I pray for those that are no longer among us - I light these candles in their memory. I don't recite that many prayers. That's all I say - may they rest in peace! I light 2 candles - I've grown into this habit. The candlesticks are made from silver, I received them as a gift from our wedding sponsors, the Margulies family. I didn't have separate dishes for meat and milk. I didn't even eat meat and milk separately, I somewhat mixed them.


After my mother died, I sat shivah for 8 days in her memory. [E.M.: In Botosani, I have come across the custom of sitting shivah for 8 days instead of 7.] I honor my parents' memory very much. You place a rug on the floor, and you sit on it. You stand up from time to time. These are the customs. The dead are buried in white sheets. People make clothes for them, sew, but they must be white, in any case. The dead are not dressed in a suit of clothes, no. You pay money to the Community, they buy them, manufacture them - a woman at the Community makes them.

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Interviewee: Marim Haller
Emoke Major
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Botosani, Romania


Marim Haller
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