70 Molokan families converted to Judaism in Saratov, Russia

Some Molokans converted to Subbotnik then Judaism. They first lived in Central Russia, then were offered land in South Ukraine (Milky Waters), then in the Caucasus. They believed that Judaism is the right religion and that Palestine (Israel ) is the "promised land". Many fled illegally to ancient Palestine where their descendants live today. A few may have come to America. We have little of this history.

This 1946 interview with Mrs. Clara Adamovna Neiman, whose Molokan family became Jews, reveals a nearly forgotten oral history. It was recorded in a refugee camp in France. At the end of WWII General Eisenhower invited American reporters to Europe to document the destruction and investigate the holocaust. Dr. David Boder, an American psychology professor, born in Latvia, trained in Germany, spoke Russian and Yiddish, and figured that with his language skills and the new wire-recorder (in photo) he could document history much more efficiently than most news reporters. See: Boder, David P. "The displaced people of Europe; preliminary notes on a psychological and anthropological study." Illinois Tech Engineer 12 (1947): pages 18-21. (PDF)

Dr. Boder recorded 130 diverse interviews in 9 languages. 20+ were never in concentration camps, including Clara's oral history which he transcribed in 1955 hoping they would be published. They were ignored then rediscovered about 1998. See TV News video broadcast April 2007. 118 interviews are on the website Voices of the Holocaust.

A copy of Clara's interview is at UCLA where Dr. Border last worked since 1952 as Research Associate in the psychology department before he died in 1961. Clara's early transcript by Dr. Boder was among the first posted and copied below with comments and links.

In 2000 The Gavlin Library, Illinois Institute of Technology, posted what they had on the Internet and after 2005 got funding to convert all audio to digital, clean the sound, complete the relevants transcripts and post them on their website Voices of the Holocaust, adding maps, references, links, etc. You can now hear the audio (Russian with some Yiddish) and read the English transcript with the conversation lines highlighted as the enhanced digital audio interview is played. Below a map of locations Clara mentions is added along with a few comments in red.


/Spool 121B/
Note: Although the translation is being made more than nine years after the interview, I seem to remember Mrs. Neiman very well. She was a tall, somewhat heavy set, healthy looking peasant women, typical of the Russian south. From her looks one could possibly give her up to thirty or thirty-five years of age, at least by American standards of appearance. That does not mean to say that she looked prematurely aged. Her Russian is perfect at average vocabulary level and so fluent that for translation purposes special devices had to be made to slow down somewhat her speech. What is more surprising is that her Yiddish, too, which we changed to at the end of the interview, is very beautiful and fluent.—DPB.

Boder In English: France, September the 12th, 1946, at Henonville, about fifty kilometers from Paris. A Kibbutz in a wonderful countryside, in an old castle, for displaced Jews. The interviews is Mrs. Clara Neiman, a woman who was converted, I understand, to Judaism. And so, Mrs. Neiman,/in Russian:/ tell us again what is your full name and..

Neiman: Nei-.

Boder: /Laughingly:/ Tell us also how old you are.

Neiman: Neiman.

Boder: Yes.

Neiman: Neiman, Clara.

Boder: Yes.

Neiman: Twenty five years.

Boder: Twenty-five years.


Boder: And where were you born Mrs. Neiman?

Neiman: In the city of Saratov[Click on city to see map.]

Boder: So what are you being called by your father's name /the polite Russian form of addressing people/?

Neiman: Adamovna /meaning her father's name was Adam/.

Boder: Clara Adamova?

Neiman: Yes.

Boder: Clara Adamova, you were born in Saratov?

Neiman: Yes.

Boder: And you were a large family.

Neiman: A large.

Boder: A large family, yes. And how many people? The father, mother...

Neiman: Seven we were. No, no, ten, together with father and mother.

Boder: So.

Neiman: Seven children.

Boder: Seven children and...

Neiman: And father and mother.

Boder: Then that makes it nine.

Neiman: Nine, yes. There was one more who died, and so...

Boder: Oh well, altogether your mother had eight children.

Neiman: Eight /few words not clear/.

Boder: Now tell me where...well, what was the religion of your parents?

Neiman: They were Russian /as it often happens, she identifies the Greek Orthodox religion with the Russian nationality/. And then they went over to Judaism.

Boder: /With lasting tone of surprise:/ Your parents, too?

Neiman: The parents. Afterwards we became Jews.

Boder: I understand. But your parents, too, had become Jews?

Neiman: Had become Jews.

Boder: How did that happen?

Neiman: /Words not clear./ Very simple, they adopted /changed to/ the Jewish religion.

Boder: Your parents?

Neiman: Yes, my parents. They have left already for Palestine.

Boder: Your parents are already in Palestine?

Neiman: In Palestine. Yes.

Boder: Now tell me. How many years ago did your parents go over to Judaism?

Neiman: Approximately already twenty years.

Boder: And they lived all that time in Russia?

Neiman: No, not in Russia. They lived in Baku, in Gruziya /Baku is not in the province of Gruziya, but is located not far from it, /a minor error/.

Boder: Oh.

Neiman: In Gruziya, in the Caucasus.

Boder: In the Caucasus.

Neiman: Yes, in the Caucsus.

Boder: Now then, your father and mother both were born Russians?

Neiman: Born Russians, who went over /to Judaism/, but we...I still was not...but the other already /were born in Jewish faith/. I and my older brother, already deceased, were not born /as Jews/. A year of two before or later.

Boder: And your mother.

Neiman: Mother was just like a Jewess of course.

Boder: So.

Neiman: Yes.

Boder: When you were born?

Neiman: When I was born /she apparently is somewhat confused/. Maybe a year or two earlier /she had become a Jewess/.

Boder: So, afterwards. Then you already were not christened?

Neiman: No, no, us not. We were already like Jews.

Boder: And...could you possibly explain why your parents decided to adopt Judaism?

Neiman: How come? Well, they...they were not Russian. They were not Russians /meaning not Greek Orthodox/. They were Sectarians /dissenders from the official Russian Church/.

Boder: Oh. They were Sectarians.

Neiman: Of a different sect.

Boder: To which sect did they belong?

Neiman: To another sect.

Boder: Yes, of course.

Neiman: They were Molokans /see note at end of chapter/. [More likely they were Jumpers, Spiritual.]

Boder: Then you come from the Molokans!

Neiman: Yes.

Boder: So. And then?

Neiman: And then they decided to change to Judaism, that this was already the real /right/ religion. The first changed to Sabbatarianism and afterwards became real Jews.

Boder: So they changed first to Sabbatarianism?

Neiman: No /?/. They first just observed the Sabbath and then adopted all the Jewish laws.

Boder: So were there many such people in that locality?

Neiman: Seventy people took it on at that time, seventy...seventy families.

Boder: Seventy families adopted Judaism.

Neiman: Seventy families adopted Judaism when our mother was already converted/?/.

Boder: Already twenty years ago?

Neiman: Already twenty years ago. And many of our gers /strangers, Christians converted to Judaism/ are already there, in Palestine. They lived in Tel-Aviv. They left in the year ‘24.

Boder: They left in the year ‘24?

Neiman: Left in the year ‘24. Tel-Aviv was not yet completed.

Boder: And how did they get out at that time from Russia to Palestine?

Neiman: They...they crossed the black border /crossed illegally/.

Boder: The black border.

Neiman: The black border.

Boder: Now tell me Clara Adamorna, where were you when the war started?

Neiman: We were in Gruziya [Georgia] in the city of Kutais[Click to see map.]

Boder: But you /your folks/ are not Caucasians /not born in the Caucasus region/.

Neiman: No, no. We moved from the city of Saratov where we were born.

Boder: You were born in Saratov.

Neiman: We moved. The children were born already in the Ukraine. We lived also in the Ukraine.

Boder: Then how did you get to Gruziya [Gerogia]?

Neiman: To Gruziya [Georgia] we got still before the war. We arrived there about five /?/ years before the war.

Boder: So.

Neiman: Before the war. And then we were all the time in Gruziya. Already twenty five years that we got there. Still before the war. /Her time data are somewhat confused./

Boder: And how did you decide...Why did you decide to move to Gruziya?

Neiman: It was very difficult to live in Russia.

Boder: For whom?

Neiman: In general for us it was very hard to live.

Boder: And in Gruziya?

Neiman: We were unable to observe properly Judaism. It was impossible to observe one's religion, and mother had established by correspondence /?/ that we had acquaintances there who had gone over /to Judaism/. So we moved to Gruziya

Boder: Aha. And the Soviets? Did they permit you to move to Gruziya?

Neiman: Nothing. They had nothing against that.

Boder: Now tell me. But Gruziya, too, belongs to the Soviets.

Neiman: Gruziya belongs to the Soviets, but there was more freedom, life was more comfortable. There was /no/ shortage.

Boder: So.

Neiman: Clothes were very cheap. It was better...better to live.

Boder: At any rate it was better to live.

Neiman: Yes.

Boder: And you, what were you there? Peasants?

Neiman: I worked in a knitting shop /Jersey/. Father also worked in a factory. The brothers also worked in factories /few words not clear/.

Boder: All of you worked.

Neiman: My sister is now here, too. Her family is here, too. My husband...

Boder: Your sister is here, too?

Neiman: We were unable to leave together illegally, because of the children. They had a child and I a little boy.

Boder: So. So you...

Neiman: And we haven't left yet.

Boder: Oh, you mean you couldn't go illegally to Palestine?

Neiman: We couldn't. Because mother went illegally with father, a brother and already a grown up sister.

Boder: They are in Tel-Aviv?

Neiman: Yes. They live already in Tel-Aviv. Already a month that they live in Tel-Aviv, liberated, in freedom.

Boder: Why do you say that they were liberated? Were they held...

Neiman: They were in a lager.

Boder: Aha. And afterwards. they were not free.

Neiman: They had a very hard time. They were even without water for three days.

Boder: Hm. Now tell me. Speak a bit in this direction /of the microphone/.

Neiman: Yes, yes, yes. So...

Boder: So. Now tell me, when the war started you were in Kutais.

Neiman: Yes. In the city of Kutais.

Boder: Now tell me...

Neiman: A big Jewish city.

Boder: /Astonished:/ A big Jewish city.

Neiman: A Jewish city. There were altogether seventy /?/ synagogues. That's how big a city it was.

Boder: In Kutais?

Neiman: Yes.

Boder: How come?

Neiman: It was very big...of course, a very big city. It's a Jewish city.[Footnote: This is of course incorrect. But having had a more liberal government and considering the advanced of the Germans, the Caucasus in general may have had a large influx of Jewish refugees, especially in the cities located near the Turkish border.]

Boder: Now tell me, the Jews there were Russian Jews?

Neiman: /Word not clear; sound like Proskiri/ Gruziyan Jews. There were various Jewish nations /adjective not clear/, very pious Jews. All the synagogues were full.

Boder: In Kutais?

Neiman: In Kutais. Afterwards we left for Russia.

Boder: Aha.

Neiman: In Russia it was very difficult to observe religion.

Boder: In Russia with religion...

Neiman: /Sounds like: For Jews/ it was very difficult./ A wisper, not clear./ Everything was prohibited. Later one it /religious observance/ became already open, since it /the four freedoms/ was reported in the newpapers from England, from America, that they demand it. /Her rapid speech begins to telescope the sentences./ And so before the war...one may say after the war...Before the war it was harder...At any rate we did not adjust/?/ there any more. People travelled...

Boder: Good. When the war started you were in Kutais.

Neiman: Yes.

Boder: Now, tell me in detail where and how all these things happened. Where were you during the war, and did you finally get to Paris? Don't hurry. We have time.

Neiman: /With a chuckle:/ Aha, good. It was like this. When we were in Kutais, I married a Pole.

Boder: A Pole?

Neiman: A Pole, a Jew. My husband is a collect Jew /possibly one who belongs to a collective farm. I am not sure of the meaning of this apparently makeshift word./

Boder: So.

Neiman: And afterwards we decided to travel to Poland.

Boder: Aha.

Neiman: I left for Poland, while mother and sister remained there.

Boder: In what city?

Neiman: In the city of Kutais. The sister lived there.

Boder: So.

Neiman: The sister lived there. The sister, too, got married in Kutais.

Boder: And how did the Polish Jews get to Gruziya?

Neiman: They were in Gruziya. Very many /of them/ were in Gruziya.

Boder: Polish Jews.

Neiman: Polish Jews, very many. they fled from the war.

Boder: Oh, this was already...

Neiman: This was already at the time of the slaughter /massacres/.

Boder: So. They evacuated themselves...

Neiman: Yes.

Boder: ...and went to Gruziya?

Neiman: The third year since my marriage.

Boder: So. So.

Neiman: Three years had passed.

Boder: So. So. And he was an evacuee.

Neiman: He was an evacusee, yes. There were many such...

Boder: So.

Neiman: So we put up the Khupe /Hebrew: canape under which bride and groom stand during the Judaic marriage ceremony/ there in the city of Kutais.

Boder: You put up what?

Neiman: Khupe. We made a wedding like Jews.

Boder: So. Nu.

Neiman: Afterwards we decided to leave for Poland, afterwards already upon the termination of the war.

Boder: So.

Neiman: During the first year after termination of the war we decided to depart for Poland.

Boder: So.

Neiman: And we departed, with my husband, for Poland. We spent there, let us say, five months. Afterwards mother arrived. I sent word for her to come. I wrote to her, between lines, because it was not possible to write /openly/...

Boder: So.

Neiman: ...that mother should come, that possibly there will be a chance to get to Palestine.

Boder: So.

Neiman: Only I wrote to her in a manner that the letter should reach her. You of course understand.

Boder: So that the letter should pass /Soviet/ censorship.

Neiman: Yes. And so finally mother arrived among us in Russia /?/

Boder: So.

Neiman: Mother arrived...

Boder: Where to? Where did you live, in Poland?

Neiman: In Poland, in the city of Lodz[Click to see map.]

Boder: /With surprise:/ In Lodz?

Neiman: Petrokovska /street/ 23.

Boder: To the city of Lodz.

Neiman: Yes. On the main street, Petrokovska 23...

Boder: So.

Neiman: ...we lived.

Boder: So.

Neiman: Well, we lived — nothing to complain about. My husband is a tailor. We started to earn well. But still there was great anti-Semitism, and they started to kill a lot of Jews. In our time there were...there took place a great number of /word not clear/ assaults.

Boder: Pogroms?

Neiman: Pogroms.

Boder: So.

Neiman: So I wrote my mother a letter, so she came...Come winter, they decided to leave. My sister, my mother, the whole family left.

Boder: They came to /word not clear/.

Neiman: No, to us.

Boder: From Kutais?

Neiman: A city in Gruziya. They arrived in Poland, and afterwards they lived with me for three months. They wintered through the winter.

Boder: Hm.

Neiman: We were registered with a Jewish faction, of course with a Jewish organization with whom we now have arrived.

Boder: Aguda? [Adudah]

Neiman: Aguda. [Adudah]

Boder: So.

Neiman: In Lodz. And we decided...and afterwards they accepted us. They registered us first. And afterwards it was impossible to travel in the winter. It was, of course, difficult to travel with children.

Boder: So.

Neiman: And afterwards in March...in the month of April we already departed.

Boder: And how did the father come /join/ you?

Neiman: And the father had arrived when we had written.

Boder: Together with mother?

Neiman: Yes.

Boder: Oh.

Neiman: Together with mother and the family. And the sister, too, with the family.

Boder: How come? Did they come like Poles or like /word not clear/?

Neiman: Well, they...my husband, too, /came/ like a Pole.

Boder: Hm.

Neiman: My husband, too, as a /word not clear, possible equivalent: a Polish citizen/. And as to mother it was permitted /as/ announced in the newspaper that one who has in Poland a son or a daughter may leave /for Poland/.

Boder: Aha.

Neiman: And mother. /She for some reason fails in general to mention the father/, mother has remained alone /in Kutais/ and as an old person.

Boder: So.

Neiman: My two brothers now study in the Yeshiva /school of higher Judaic learning/. They have decided to go to America. They study in a Yeshiva in Luxenben, in the city of Luxenben.

Boder: Luxemben?

Neiman: Luxenben, yes.

Boder: They are now in Luxenburg?

Neiman: They study in the Yeshiva. They study.

Boder: The younger.../?/

Neiman: The youngest..the youngest two brothers. Yes.

Boder: So.

Neiman: But they have not left yet.

Boder: So.

Neiman: And that is how we got here. We live here already five months. Thank God.

Boder: That means you have two brothers, younger ones, studying in the Luxemburg Yeshiva.

Neiman: /They talk in unison:/ ...two brothers, younger ones, in Luxemburg Yeshiva.

Boder: Now where is that, in Lux- ...in Luxemburg?

Neiman: In Luxemburg there is a large Yeshiva, and they study there.

Boder: Why do you say that they intend to go to America?

Neiman: They already...they had already the visa in their hands, but for some reason they have not left yet. Only one of them /of the students?/ had a chance to leave. Meanwhile we had contact this week...last week, with two people /from there,/ and they told us that they /the brothers/ have not left yet, and that we should write letters to them.

Boder: Aha. Now then...

Neiman: They don't know yet that our mother has left.

Boder: Aha. They don't know yet about your mother?

Neiman: No, nothing.

Boder: And you, have you received letters already?

Neiman: No, we have received nothing from mother. Why she does not write I don't know. But those who have left on that steamer with mother write that everything is very well, that they are fairing very well in Tel-Aviv, and that some of them, the young people, have joined a Kibbutz, while some have remained in /word not clear/.

Boder: Now tell me, you don't know yet that your parents have reached Palestine?

Neiman: They...we know. It was reported.../sounds like: the Czechs/ have reported that /of/ the steamer which has arrived at /name not clear, posssibly a port on Cyprus/ they have set free nearly all. Some of them left for Tel-Aviv, and some remained at /name not clear/.

Boder: So. But from your mother...

Neiman: But from our mother we have heard nothing.

Boder: And from your father you have received nothing /no word/.

Neiman: No, nothing.

Boder: Aha. Now tell me this. During the war you were in Kutais?

Neiman: In the city of Kutais.

Boder: And the war did not reach it?

Neiman: There were twice strong bombardments, only two times. There was no war /there/.

Boder: So, but...

Neiman: The war was about twenty five.../corrects/ hundred twenty five kilometers away /word not clear/. And afterwards they were driven back.

Boder: Aha. Now with whom are you here in Henonville? With your husband?

Neiman: With my husband and baby.

Boder: With one baby. That is your family.

Neiman: Yes.

Boder: So. Now tell me how do you live here. You have a separate room for your family.

Neiman: A separate /room/. Everything is fine.

Boder: So.

Neiman: We live, thank God, well. There is food, there is drink, cleanliness. Everything one may say is fine.

Boder: Now tell me. You say that in your locality were...you in Saratov or Samara?

Neiman: In Saratov. /A few sentences not clear./

Boder: So. And there was a large number of "Russians" who have become Jews?

Neiman: Yes. But they, too, have departed from here. They do not remain there

Boder: So. And who were your rabbis?

Neiman: In Saratov there were many Jews.

Boder: So. Our mother...mother's own sister lived in Saratov in the city of Saratov. Through her she became acquainted with Jews in general, and so she decided to go to Judaism. /Consistently it is the mother, not the father or the parents/.

Boder: She was not originally married to a Jew?

Neiman: Mama? No, no. No, no.

Boder: And your father was then a pure Russian.

Neiman: Yes, yes. No, not a pure /Greek Orthodox/. They were sectarians. that is why they got into /words not clear/. They were digging /debating, urging, hesitating/ digging, digging, and decided to go over, to adopt the Jewish religion, because it is proper to have this belief, not the belief they had before/

Boder: Yes.

Neiman: And so they went over.

Boder: Now. And you speak Yiddish, too?

Neiman: /From here the dialogue proceeds in Yiddish, which she speaks beautifully./ Yes, I speak Yiddish.

Boder: /Wondering:/ You speak Yiddish?

Neiman: Yes, I speak Yiddish.

Boder: Where did you learn Yiddish?

Neiman: I? When did I learn it? When we lived...when we left Russia and lived in a Jewish city.

Boder: Where?

Neiman: In the Ukraine. In the Ukraine.

Boder: In the Ukraine. In what city was that?

Neiman: /In Russian:/ In the city of Kamenets Podolsk. The city Kamenets.

Boder: Kamenets Pololsk.   [Click to see map.]

Neiman: Podolsk. /In Yiddish:/ Not far from Kamenets.../word not clear/

Boder: /In Yiddish:/ And here...with the child you talk what?

Neiman: Russian...but I want him to learn to speak Yiddish.

Boder: /One word not clear./

Neiman: /With laughter:/ Yes.

Boder: Aha. And your husband? What does your husband do?

Neiman: He is a tailor. /Sentence not clear; she speaks exceptionally fast./

Boder: Can you read Hebrew? Can you pray /read from prayer book/?

Neiman: Hebrew? No. I pray in Russian, the translation, one side Hebrew one side Russian, the translation.

Boder: What do you have, a prayer book with a translation?

Neiman: A prayer book with a translation.

Boder: Oh. And /words not clear/.

Neiman: And the whole Torah /Bible/, too, /word not clear/. I have a translation of the whole Torah.

Boder: You have a translataion.

Neiman: I read it to him /husband?/, too, But I have to speak Yiddish /it is proper that I speak Yiddish/.

Boder: Now. And when do you think you will be in Eretz Yisroeil [Land of Israel]?

Neiman: Alevay /may it only be so/, that is not known. /Laughter./ Alevay, as soon as possible. We want it as soon as possible, but...

Boder: And your family..your father and mother got there /to Palestine/ illegally?

Neiman: /In a whishper:/ Not legally.

Boder: How did they go? What did they have? A ship, or how?

Neiman: Yes. They went to the city of...

Boder: Marseilles?

Neiman: Marseilles, Marseilles.

Boder: From Marseilles?

Neiman: Yes. There they waited for a week's time, and then they departed /whispers some words not clear/. There were a lot of people, a large group.

Boder: Did all get into Palestine.

Neiman: Yes. There were Zionists. There were a lot of people.

Boder: Aha.

Neiman: They waited there for a week's time, and then they departed.

Boder: Now tell me...

Neiman: Yes.

Boder: When did you actually leave Russia? In what year?

Neiman: I left — I will tell you — I /hope I/ have not forgotten. I left...it is already...you mean from Russia to Gruziya.

Boder: No. When did you leave Gruziya for Poland?

Neiman: Oh, for Poland. That trip we made already a year ago. It is already a year.

Boder: Already a year. Well. First you intended...

Neiman: /Interrupting:/ No, no, no, we went first /few words not clear/.

Boder: First you thought to remain in Poland.

Neiman: No. We did not think so. We specially were going away from /word not clear, possible from persecution/. You understand? When we got to Poland one could not live /?/ in Poland. You understand? So we first went to Poland, and in Poland we could see already where people are going. And so...

Boder: Where people are going...

Neiman: Yes /chuckle/.

Boder: And how did you get from Poland to France? Tell me that.

Neiman: How we traveled by train. We traveled in small groups by ancua /? She uses apparently a French colloquialsim or mispronounces the word; it means bus/.

Boder: How did you travel?

Neiman: I traveled by /sounds like avcua/.

Boder: The whole...What does it mean, avcua?

Neiman: We traveled altogether four days to /word not clear/.

Boder: Aha.

Neiman: And there we waited a month's time.

Boder: Yes. Where did you wait month's time?

Neiman: Well, in rooms.

Boder: At a committee /shelter house/?

Neiman: Yes, at a committee. It was arranged by the Aguda. [Adudah] There was food...

Boder: Yes.

Neiman: There was drink and...

Boder: Oh. The Aguda has taken you over already from Poland?

Neiman: From Lodz. Right from Poland. Yes.

Boder: Yes. And they took you from Lodz and...

Neiman: From Lodz through...

Boder: To Prague.

Neiman: Yes, to Prague. From Prague we also came by avcua/bus/.

Boder: Yes.

Neiman: We traveled by bus.

Boder: By bus you traveled?

Neiman: Yes, yes, and illegally.

Boder: How far, all to France? In busses?

Neiman: Yes.

Boder: So you passed Germany?

Neiman: We passed through. Yes. There we met our brothers.

Boder: /Surprised:/ O-oh.

Neiman: This is how we found them. I shall tell you. We arrived at dawn.

Boder: Yes.

Neiman: You understand? I was to. We left...we traveled four days. So it came to be Friday night /the eve of the Sabbath/.

Boder: Yes.

Neiman: So we had arrived on Thursday...

Boder: Yes.

Neiman: ...coming to France. And Friday we were already in the hotel.

Boder: Hm.

Neiman: And there we already...and from there I transferred /rest of sentence not clear/.

Boder: Was the Rabbi Horwitz with you? /See Chapter 42./

Neiman: Not there, not there, not there. He was already later.../correction/ they had come earlier. They were already here at this place /?/, but a few families /?/ were still in Paris.

Boder: Yes.

Neiman: They were mot transferred?

Boder: Well.

Neiman: And so since we were in Paris, we ate in a refectory.

Boder: Hm. /Pause./ Now then, and what are you doing here all day?

Neiman: Here? No worry. I do what I wish /?/ My husband goes to work in the garden. And I have to take care, of course, of the little baby. I have to watch /?/ him.

Boder: Aha. And where do you eat? You eat in the...

Neiman: In the refectory.

Boder: In the refectory. Aha. All together? Or you eat–the women separately from the men?

Neiman: We eat separately. In the same refectory, but /we sit/ separately.

Boder: Yes. You eat separately. And the same when you go to prayer. You are separated.

Neiman: Yes. For breakfast, for dinner, for supper /?/.

Boder: Yes. So you don't have to cook for yourselves.

Neiman: No.

Boder: And for the baby?

Neiman: No, for the child they don't cook, Surely I cannot take the child to the refectory /?/.

Boder: Yes.

Neiman: I have in my place a little oven, so I cook /for him/ on the oven.

Boder: You have a little oven.

Neiman: Yes. A primus machine /a kerosene cooker/.

Boder: Aha.

Neiman: /Words not clear./

Boder: And your husband? He is a tailor as well /in addition to his agricultural work/?

Neiman: He is a tailor, a good tailor for men's, women's /these few words said in Russian were not clear./

Boder: What does that mean?

Neiman: /In Yiddish:/ For the man and for...

Boder: Yes.

Neiman: ...the woman.

Boder: Oh. /Repeats the Russian words:/ Men's and women's.

Neiman: Men's and women's

Boder: Hm, a men's and women's tailor. So in Palestine, in Eretz Yisroeil what do you think you will do? You will have a tailor shop or you will work on the land?

Neiman: He...he will give up tailoring. All the time in Russia he neither worked at tailoring. He worked on the land. He likes in on the land.

Boder: He likes...

Neiman: On the soil. He will go to work on the soil.

Boder: Aha.

Neiman: He likes it on the soil...

Boder: Well, Clara Adamovna, that is very interesting. You have told us, indeed, someting completely new, and I think we will all be interested to hear it. Anything else that you want to tell me, some other interesting things that you have lived through during the war? /Pause./

Neiman: /Laughter./

Boder: How old is your little boy now?

Neiman: I...my little boy? The second year.

Boder: One year?

Neiman: A year...no the second.../in Russian:/ a year and a half.

Boder: /Repeats in Russian:/ A year and a half. /In Yiddish again:/ And how long are you married?

Neiman: I? Already three years, the fourth year.

Boder: The fourth year. You had no other children?

Neiman: No. It's the first child.

Boder: The first child.

Neiman: A boy. /Laughter./ A big brat. /She uses colloquial expressions hence the question:/

Boder: A big what?

Neiman: /Still laughing:/ A big brat.

Boder: What is that?

Neiman: Well, a big /in Russian:/ mischief.

Boder: Well. I thank you very much. /In English:/ This concludes the interview with Mrs. Clara Adamovna Neiman, at Hennoville near Paris, in a Kibbutz, rather...of a rather religious organization. She is a representative of a Russian family which became converted to Judaism through Molokanism, /?/ for motive of marriage. And she was brought up as a Jew by her parents. Her parents are already now in Palestine, and /so is/ one brother. Resuming the dialogue: Oh, yes /in Yiddish:/ you failed to tell me how you happened to meet in Germany your brothers?

Neiman: /Chuckle. She resumes the narrative in Russian:/ Yes, we skipped that.

Boder: Well speak Russian.

Neiman: We traveled for a long time. We were in a hurry. We arrived, and we had to stay over night.

Boder: Where did you arrive?

Neiman: We arrived in Luxen-...in Luxenburg /changes to Yiddish:/. It was like /two words not clear/. My husband went to the Synagogue. What does he see? The students of the Yeshiva.

Boder: /A few words not clear./

Neiman: My husband enters: they were going to prayer /two Hebrew words/. He entered the Synagogue. So he says, are there here a couple of boys, Gers /Christians converted to Judaism/.

Boder: Yes.

Neiman: Yes, they say they are in the Yeshiva /?/

Boder: Aha.

Neiman: So, my husband quickly run over to them, and he sees they were indeed our brothers, the little /younger ones/. /Full of joy:/ They had grown much, had recuperated. They were /before/ so down trodden, in the general...

Boder: Yes.

Neiman: /Few words not clear/. They were now well dressed. We then took leave from them /the wire is noisy for about a sentence/. I don't know..., but of course they will go to America.

Boder: Thank you very much. /In English:/ This concludes the interview. Illinois Institute of Technology wire recording.

Note: For page 5 (2674): The Molokans represent one of the many religious sects which through the centuries split off from the official Russian Greek-Orthodox Church, protesting against innovations and subservience to civil authorities. They originally formed a faction of the Dukhobors who were at times intensely persecuted by the tzarist government. [Molokans and Doukhobors split from Iconobors.]



Spiritual Christians Around the World