Nina V. – Grodno, Belarus

GRODNO, BELARUS – August 2005

Good afternoon,

We received your letter, great thanks! With the money – $40…

I was born in November 1933. When the war began, I was 7 years old. There are a lot of details from our life during the war. One episode I remember well enough. We, the children, were given 150 grams of bread through ration cards. Its quality was very bad, like a piece of clay. But for us it was very tasty. In the morning, before going to work, mother gave us a piece of this bread, and the rest of it she hung in gauze on a nail from the ceiling, so we were not able to take it and eat. But we were very hungry.

Once the hostess of the house in which we lived was baking patties with potato. My brother and I were sitting in our corner swallowing saliva. The hostess said that she would give us both a patty if we gave her some soap (my mother had received half a liter of liquid soap at her job). Surely, I agreed. [When my mother returned] she saw that there remained only a half jar of the soap and asked me why. I told her everything; she of course scolded me and even beat me. But I didn’t cry because I knew it was my fault. And mother was crying too from inconsolable grief that she had to punish her child for this.

Before the war our parents were young, took an active part in social life but we didn’t celebrate religious holidays. But I remember how our grandfather put on his striped tallis and prayed; how he treated us grandchildren with challah and I also remember the Pesach matzoh, not square as it is now, but in big rounds.

We wish you peace and kindness.

Yours sincerely,

Nina and Anya

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