The story in our book breaks in August 23, 1939, though there are some details of further lives of the described people in one chapter. What happened to Fira after her fake marriage to Abrasza? Here, we present a bunch of her memories regarding her life in Palestine. Fira and Abrasza had been married for over 50 years. They had two children. Fira had never came back to Poland. She had been living in Jerusalem for 75 years. She didn’t like traveling, but this was not the reason of her reluctance to come to Poland again. She tells about it in this part.
A flat in Cwania Street and Ramik’s birthday
After getting married Abrasza still lived with his single friend from Lithuania in a rented room. Every day, after work, he came to me and after a few months he started to sleep in our living room. My parents lived in a three-room flat in their house. They moved there after Mummy had arrived. Daddy let the remaining three flats and they lived off their rental income. After a couple of months I did get used to Abrasza. Daddy rented a three-room flat for us. It was on the corner of Zaphaniah (we called it Cwania) and Nehemiah Streets, opposite the house I received as my dowry. My house was a one-storey one with four flats. In February, 1940 one flat in my house vacated and we moved there with Abrasza. We let the remaining three ones and we deposited the rental money to a bank, as my husband’s salary was high enough to live on it. You could have lived off letting only one flat in Palestine at that time.
Cwania Street, just like the whole neighbourhood, was a Polish Island in Jerusalem, inhabited in 90% by the people coming from Poland. Every room in my flat had a balcony. So, I could witness the life of the neighbourhood as I faced two streets from my balcony, Nehemiah Street and Cwania Street. Everybody knew everyone at that time and I often talked to my neighbours and even to passer-by, standing on the balcony.
On 14th of April 1941, five days before my birthday, my son Rami came into the world. Rami means high in Hebrew. I gave him this name as I wanted him to be high-spirited. He was a nice and quiet boy. Five years later I gave birth to my daughter Lili. I named her after my aunt Lili Lew from Brzeziny.
I found it very hard to learn Hebrew. Nobody spoke Polish in the streets of Kerem Abraham, though many people knew this language. I used Jewish or German but I hoped to learn Hebrew with Rami. So I did. I learnt it together with my growing little son.
I didn’t receive British citizenship just after getting married. After two years I had to leave Palestine and come back to get the citizenship on the border. Ramik was a baby at that time. My Mom took care of him and I went to Beirut, to Lebanon. Many Jews in a similar situation did the same. I spent three days in Beirut, in a hotel at the seaside. Sitting in a café, I admired beautiful views. I also visited the city and after three days I came back home by bus, as a citizen of the British Mandate of Palestine.
Grandma Frida’s signs
When the war broke out and we started to get various horrible information, we all were shocked. People didn’t believe the news they heard. We thought it was some propaganda as we weren’t able to grasp it. Every day there was a Polish broadcast on the English radio. In the late autumn of 1939 I heard on this radio that the Germans were throwing the Jews out of their houses. I thought: – My God, if a German comes to my proud Grandma and says, „Juden Raus”, she will probably spit or slap his face. My grandparents Dymants had to work really hard to get what they have now. A few years after the wedding they built a tenement house at Sienkiewcza Street 6. And now, are they to be thrown out? I wished my Grandma Frida had died before any German came into her house. Grandpa Chaim Ber died in 1938 and she was his age. I prayed: – Dear Grandma, let me know that you are dead. How could she let me know that? Let a bird come to my window. Indeed, a little bird sat on the window sill and started to jump to the pane. – You let me know. It is not by accident – I said to myself. I wanted to make sure and I thought that the next sign would be a stopped clock. The clock was on a table. We wound it up every night at 10. Suddenly it stopped at half past two! I was shocked. These two things, I thought about, were a sign. After six months, or a year, The Red Cross informed my parents about Grandma Frida’s death.
Many years after the war, the people from Brzeziny, who survived the Holocaust, established a group of the Brzeziny Jews and we started to meet once a year in Tel Aviv. We talked, remembered and exchanged information about our war stories or the people in Brzeziny during the war. I didn’t attend these meetings every year. However, once I met there a lady, who used be a tenant of my grandparents. I didn’t know her. She sat next to me and asked whether I was Chaim Ber Dymant’s granddaughter. – Yes – I said. So, she tells me that she has a guilty conscience and she wants to ask my forgiveness. She says that after the war had started, she decided to escape to Russia. When she was packing her things, somebody informed her that Frida Dymant, the landlady, died suddenly and a funeral procession is going to a cemetery right now. She had no time to join it, however. She was escaping with her brother and they hurried up, so she didn’t accompanied Frida to a cemetery, though she liked her very much. That’s why she is asking now my forgiveness. I was surprised but glad to hear that.
Sixty years in Rehavia
We had been living in Cwania Street until Israel declared its independence. It was around 1947 when we moved to Ibn Ezra Street 9 in Rehavia. It was a district of German Jews inhabited by intelligence, professors, doctors. One day Daddy met in the street his old friend from Russia, who was much older, and they made friends again. That friend had a house in Ibn Ezra Street. He got sick in 1947 and decided to join his daughters in Paris to start treatment there. He asked me and Abrasza to administer his house and to live in his flat until he is back. Yet, he had never come back. He died in Europe. In 1951 his daughter came to sell the house and she told us to buy the flat we lived in. So, I have been living here for over 60 years now, though I loved to live at Cwania. Today, it is a district of religious Jews, but earlier it was my district and I felt at home there.
When the war lasted in Europe, we lived our ordinary lives in Palestine. We met, arranged dancing parties, card games. We didn’t feel much of what was happening in Europe. However, we didn’t celebrate when the war was over. Europe had relaxed but we were constantly endangered by Arabian fights. Numerous survivors from Europe tried to come to Palestine as illegal immigrants (alliyah) but many of them were captured by the British.
I will not come back to Poland
I sold my house in Cwania Street, which I received from my Daddy. My son got sick, underwent unsuccessful spinal surgery and got into trouble. So, I sold the house to help him. My husband was already dead at that time. He died in 1993. We didn’t have another house, after my parents, as Mummy didn’t want to live there after Tatulinski had died suddenly in 1959. She sold it and bought a two- and- a half-room-flat in Gaza Street, not far from me.
I have never come back to Poland. There was nobody I knew in Poznan, except for a few friends, like Stasia Janczakowna or Genia Kluzowna, with whom I wrote letters. So, I will come to walk along the streets to meet nobody. I will be crying. Besides, I knew there was already no house at Wroniecka 12. The same in Brzeziny. Am I walk around and cry? No, I said to myself, I am not able to do this.