June 6th, 2012
In which language did they read Homerus in Gymnasium Yavne, Telz, Lithuania?
Rosa Ziv is not only a gracious 90 years old lady. Her smile and her openness is so charming when she welcomes the author with her cousin Boris Portnoi and his wife Patricia, from Netanya.
Patricia will be filming this day of April 13, 2012 (we will publish excerpts of this interview as soon as it is edited). In the meantime here is a summary (in French) of Rosa Ziv’s interview.
As we are speaking together and examining the photographs I brought to work with her, her memories turn out to be sharf, her narrative precise and her points of view assertive. Her mind is well organized as is her beautiful garden planted with elegant poppies, and the plates she has decoratively dressed for us with strawberries and kiwis. If she fondly and playfully remembers her school mates, her good friends, she doesn’t give a dime to bigotery, even if she profoundly respects her survivor friends who are rebbetsins.
She also treasures the memory of her teachers.
A few anecdotes are worth to be told, at least for their yiddisher Tam. Professor Sapozhnikov who is holding a glass on the top right of this photograph was a gingin (that means red hair in Hebrew). Was it the reason why the girls had a rhyme about him ?
Shabske der reyter, krikht af a leyter, zet a meydl, vert er a teyter – Shabske the red hair, climbs on a ladder, turns into a dead man (he swoons).
The most beautiful story concerns Professor Odessas whose wife received the nick name of Penelopa. “Of course, tells Rosa laughing, from Odysseus!” So in which language, we have now to ask her, did they read Homerus in Gymnasium Yavne, Telz, Lithuania?
As every subject matter which was not Lithuanian, Latin, German or English (before 1931 when Latin replaced English), Odysseus was studied in Hebrew and read in a Hebrew translation. Now, did the pious Jewish girls of Yavne Gymnasium read also Ilias?
Rosa cherishes the memory of one of her teachers. She looks for her on each photograph I am showing to her. Khaske (Khasia) and Soske (Sarah) Gering, sisters looked very much alike. Rosa finally recognized her beloved teacher, Sarah Gering. (Geringaite Hassia-Frida, her sister, received a diploma in 1928, still to come)
But the bloody thugs who murdered the Jews, she has no words to speak about them.
She gives an account of the murder of the Lukniker Rebbe, the father of Miriam Kravitski, beaten to the blood and massacred by Lithuanian murderers before the first German has entered into Luknik. She also describes the ordeal of the men of Luknik, forced to a parody of “dance” during hours and hours before they are shot by their murderers. It was July 15th 1941, 3 weeks after the German assault.