Photo taken in:WarsawYear when photo was taken:1928Country name at time of photo:PolandCountry name today:Poland
From left: My brother Ksil, his friend Bela Krysztal, my sister Rajzla, and her husband, Izrael Fruchtman.
When I was born there were already 5 children at home before me. My second sister, Rajzla, who was about 3 years younger than the eldest, Golda [b. 1903], went to the organization [Bund] and she had friends. And then there was the first son, who was called Ksil, born in 1905. So he was 13 when I was born and he went to cheder like all the other boys. He was sickly, and Mother, when she was giving us food, well I would look at his plate, that he always had a spoonful more than all the others. And that hurt.
All 3 sisters got married before the war and I remember the weddings. They were religious. What is the wedding? They take the future husband and with the future wife they are stood under a canopy and the rabbi says some prayer. They get a glass and take care that it's a fine one, and at a certain moment the man breaks the glass to recall the destruction of Jerusalem. They all had it.
The eldest granddaughter, Nechuma, was Rajzla's; Rajzla married a mechanic, Icchak Fruchtman, and he worked in a button factory, which was in the precinct on Nalewki at no. 2 - there was this precinct, Simons, there [Simons' precinct opened at the beginning of the 20th century on the corner of Dluga and Nalewki as a commercial building]. There was a factory there, a big unit, and in another unit the same was the union of tailors, and in the other unit was Jutrznia, Morgenstern. And he earned quite a good wage, but he was unemployed for a very long time, and only when he found a job there was great delight at such good fortune. They lived opposite me. I lived on Kupiecka, the second house, and here [adjacent] was Zamenhofa Street, at no. 21, and they had a balcony that gave onto the street, and when Nechuma went out onto the balcony she would shout 'Grandma, Grandma!' So we could see each other. But Mother didn't go to Rajzla's very often because her husband, when he came back from work, he would lie down on the couch, he was tired and didn't like having visitors.
Father had a little manufactory until the 1930s, which was in our house. Only what? It was hard for him because he had no-one to second him. The eldest son, Ksil, he'd learned to make uppers and started work in the factory, but the first strike at Father's it was he who organized. The last years, all the children in our house were Bundists. The Bund was a working-class party, and my brothers joined that party as young men. I was the youngest in the house and I heard what they talked about. When Perec Markisz [Markisz Perec 1895-1952, poet writing in Yiddish] came to Warsaw, there was this story: My sister Rajzla had very long hair, and she'd made a plait, and he stroked that plait, so they said: 'Don't wash your hair now! You mustn't cut your hair, it's sacred!'
I remember one evening the great Polish violinist Huberman [Bronislaw Huberman, 1882-1947, violinist and pedagogue. Initiator of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Tel Aviv] came to Warsaw, and my eldest brother Ksil bought himself a ticket, and he spent a lot of money, but there wasn't a bit of bread in the house, but he had to go. Only what? He was working, he had friends who were richer than him and they all went. Later on I understood him, because I used to do the same. After his wedding my brother Ksil lived in Otwock [25 km south of Warsaw]. He married a young girl. He was 34, she was about 18. She was called Tauba Frydman. They met because he was working for her father, he made shoe uppers, very expensive, lovely things. She was from Otwock, and she'd been to school in Warsaw. She was a nice girl, and there aren't even any photographs of her in the family. And in about 1937 she had a little boy, Perec.