Renia: A Holocaust Memoir

Table of Contents

My nephews, Fred and Alan Feldman.

My nephews, Fred and Alan Feldman.

Rick was seventeen years of age when we moved to Skokie. He was both going to school and working part-time in a National food store. He was still helping his father almost every weekend. Leon would organize the shoots during the week and after the shoot, we’d get proofs and then you had to assemble the albums. I helped too, doing whatever was needed. Leon also began doing the occasional Bar Mitzvah and wedding movie — without sound. I still have the movie camera. He and Rick used to edit the film, which wasn’t easy, as I recall.

We bought our first car for a hundred dollars from an older man who lived on our street. He had a Chevy which didn’t look so good, but it was still running well. I remember Rick taking a date to the prom in that car. Leon and I felt so proud as we stood at the window watching him drive off. My sister Gitta sent us money for our first brand new car, a green 1966 Pontiac. We didn’t want to accept anything for ourselves but she said it was a gift for Rick.

The Smuszkowicz family in 1995.

The Smuszkowicz family in 1995. Standing, left to right: Barbara, Ben, their daughter Jessica (in front of Ben), Lorna (holding daughter Alexis), Adam (holding daughter Chelsey). Seated, left to right: Peter, Ben and Barb's daughter Lisa, Alina.

Our neighbours in Israel, Peter and Alina Smuszkowicz, had meanwhile moved to Toronto. Like us, they too had found adjustment to life in Israel difficult and when the opportunity came to join Peter’s brother’s family in Toronto, they took it. After we arrived in Chicago, they used to visit us; sometimes their sons Adam and Ben would come. (One of their sons, Ben, is now Rick’s business partner.)

We weren’t doing badly but sometime around 1968, Peter and Alina suggested that we could improve our financial situation. Peter had become a builder and developer. Would we consider moving to Toronto? “We’ll do whatever we can to help you,” they said, and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

I was tired of moving and afraid of the unknown. Rick and Eva had a lot of friends in Chicago and liked it there. They too were reluctant to uproot themselves. But Leon was eager to take advantage of this opportunity. And so, after much family discussion, we decided to move again.

Chapter 7 > 
  


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