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Isadore Kammer

Isadore Kammer
Nationality: Russian
Location: Belaya Tserkov • Missouri • Russia • St. Louis • United States of America
Experience During Holocaust: Survived a Pogrom

Mapping Isadore's Life

Click on the location markers to learn more about Isadore. Use the timeline below the map or the left and right keys on your keyboard to explore chronologically. In some cases the dates below were estimated based on the oral histories.

“A lot of people were killed for being Jewish. My father was. We were shocked... People were afraid to be outside.” - Isadore Kammer

Read Isadore's Oral History Transcripts

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Tape 1 - Side 1

PRINCE: My name is Vida “Sister” Prince. Today is August 22, 2003. I am interviewing Isadore Kammer for the Oral History Project at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center. Mr. Kammer was born in 1906 in Russia, came to the United States in 1923. He will talk about the childhood and his early adult years, growing up in Russia with the background of World War I, the Russian Revolution, and Civil War. Lisa Pots is assisting as an audiologist in this interview.
KAMMER: I was born in Russia at the time of Beleya Tserkov. And I don’t recall the earlierst part of things. My memory isn’t that good. But I do remember Daisy started at twelve years old.
PRINCE: Well, may I ask you a question? Do you remember what your house looked like? And who lived in your house with you? Your mother? And tell me about, you have brothers or sisters? Tell me about your family when you were a child, okay?
KAMMER: Yes. I lived in the town of Beleya Tserkov in Russia and that’s really in the Ukraine. And two armies, two armies are fighting to get into the town to dominate. Their sick maybe or maybe just the town and.
POTS: Isadore, she wants to know who your family was. Your mother, your father.
KAMMER: My family was father and mother. The picture of my father and mother over there.
PRINCE: Okay. Could you get it for me Lisa? And your father’s name was what?
KAMMER: My father was Komornik.
PRINCE: That was your Russian name?
KAMMER: That was his name. That’s my father and mother.
PRINCE: Oh. Their handsome. They’re handsome people.
KAMMER: Yes they’re very good-looking people.
PRINCE: Yes they were. What did your father do?
KAMMER: My father was in the business of selling piece goods.
PRINCE: Piece goods.
KAMMER: You know what piece goods is?
PRINCE: Yeah, material…
KAMMER: I used to go to the Kiev, which was about 300 miles away, weekly to buy the piece goods and sell it by the yard to the public. That was his business. And that was. Yeah, he was a merchant. And so I had that on that day I don’t remember what day.
POTS: Isadore, what about your brothers and sisters? How many did you have?
KAMMER: I’ll tell you. My mother had two sisters and a brother. We were four people. And one day, my father was under the impression that two armies were convulging in our town. The town was Beleya Tserkov, was located in Ukraine. One of the leaders of the Armies wanted to build a new d_______ Republic of Ukraine. The other one, ______ the other army wanted to remain… wanted for us to remain Russian.
PRINCE: Just a minute she’ll get you a Kleenex. Okay, water. Go ahead…
KAMMER: I’m alright.
KAMMER: So the two armies were converging on Beleya Tserkov. My father was afraid that his friends wouldn’t be able to go out and buy food. So he packed a package of food and sent me to my grandparents house with the food. They greeted me in their yard. It was the time there wasn’t any lawnmowers. And you can imagine at the time what a yard looked like. Full of weeds. They met me in the yard to give the food, kissed me and hugged me and went back to their houses, and I went back to my house. I couldn’t go back to the house because meanwhile, the _________________ came in to the town. There were fighting each other. But they said they were fighting, they were also Anti-Semitic. You know why was killing Jews. That’s what anti-Semitism is. Do you know what anti-Semitism is?
PRINCE: Yes I do. I know what Anti-Semitism is.
KAMMER: They were both killing Jews, and I went back, I came back two hours, I saw bodies laying under the streets. I saw bodies laying in the street, I ran two hours, in the side streets in order to get to my house. When I got to my house, I found out, I got to. We lived in the basement. We had four steps to go out of the house. My father was a merchant, was selling piece goods. When I got to the house, my brothers were forked at the step, first thing I noticed was a cousin of mine who was staying, who came to visit to us, was laying at the door on the floor with his the top of his head blown off. Standing all over the petals of the sidewalk. Of the battle off the room. His blood was spatted all over. That’s the hard part of it. I got up the steps, stepped over my dead cousin, his brain was splatted all over the— and there was my mother with my father’s body halfway on the couch, halfway on the floor. And she was, had his head and his open chest. Just blown open, looking for the bullet that killed my father. She though maybe if she find the bullet my father would be alive.
PRINCE: Mr. Kammer…
KAMMER: That’s what anti-Semitism is. Killing Jews.
PRINCE: How old were you?
KAMMER: I was nine, I was turning about my Bar-Mitzvah. You know what Bar-Mitzvah is?
KAMMER: I must have been twelve years old. Starting my Bar-Mitzvah. And I went to my grandparents house to deliver the bag of food, and tried to come back to the house, I had to go to different streets. Finally, I got to my house, I found my brothers, my cousins body at the doorstep to where I live. And they said off a beer. It’s hard to talk.
PRINCE: Hmm. I can’t even imagine.
KAMMER: My mother was dragging my father’s body into the room. She had to drag him because he was dead. He was killed. When I came to the street, I noticed the people carrying bundles of piece goods that we sold. And I knew they were _____ my father. The ___________ my house and robbed us all the piece goods they could take out.
PRINCE: Mr. Kammer? Who were these people who were taking these piece goods?
KAMMER: I hate to tell you that. They were Christians. Anti-Semitism was bad for Christians.
[Tape cuts]
PRINCE: You knew Dr. Goldman?
KAMMER: Is he still alive?
KAMMER: Didn’t think so.
KAMMER: Cause I’m an old man myself.
PRINCE: He died when he was very young. My father.
KAMMER: I know, I know. I remember. A handsome man. Those were the days. Those were the days.
PRINCE: Yeah. He, he was… He had an office at the Listor building. Did he ever use your pharmacy. But, he was Melody’s doctor. Yes. (Chuckle) That’s kind of a nice…
KAMMER: (laughs) Coards.
PRINCE: Was nice.
[Tape Cuts]
KAMMER: Do all the, take up that kind of a diet.
PRINCE: So, Mr. Kammer. After this happened, then and you saw them taking the piece goods. What happened? What happened after that?
KAMMER: After that, they were walking down the street with the bottles that they take the piece goods. They take them to the house with my brothers, with my cousins blood all over the panels of the living room. And my mother and my father half lay on the couch, half lay on the floor. With the bullet.
PRINCE: And then did your neighbors, you Jewish neighbors come? Or did your, who came in?
KAMMER: At the Pogrom everybody was hiding. I was afraid.
PRINCE: So what did?
KAMMER: They didn’t want to come out. They were afraid they will be killed too, Anti-Semitism does that kind of thing.
PRINCE: That’s a hard, hard.
KAMMER: I know you’re not Jewish.
PRINCE: No I am.
KAMMER: Oh you are.
PRINCE: Yes. I am Jewish. Sis– I’m not a nun, I’m sorry, I thought Melody explained to you.
KAMMER: And I am sorry, you’re proud of it.
PRINCE: No, I am Jewish.
KAMMER: A lot of people were killed for being Jewish. My father was. We were shocked. I don’t know what happened exactly, I wasn’t home. I was on a mission to deliver some food to my grandparents.
PRINCE: And this happened to other people in…?
KAMMER: It happens to a lot of people. It happened to most Jews. People were afraid to be outside, they were afraid to get part of the Anti-Semitic pogrom. You know what pogrom is?
PRINCE: Yes, yes. You tell me what a po– you tell me, you tell me about a pogrom?
KAMMER: This is a pogrom. It was a pogrom.
PRINCE: Pogrom. Explain it. Explain it. A Pogrom is just what you were talking about. When people come in and kill Jews.
KAMMER: Gentiles, mostly Gentiles that’s believed in Christ. Who gave up Christ. Christ is a Jewish Rabbi. A Jewish Rabbi tied to the word Jewish died, for the poors, to be able to eat better. There was ____________________ Christian agency. But I thought you said, he started Jesus Christ was preacher to take apart the diet. To increase diet to everything. It’s hard to explain.
PRINCE: Mr. Kammer?
PRINCE: How, how did… What did you and your mother do? And did you leave the town? Did you stay there? What did you and your mother do?
PRINCE: Afterwards?
KAMMER: My mother corresponded with her brothers in the United States. She had two brothers who left for the United States some time ago. She corresponded with them, and after a while we were, we had to live with whatever it is, eat whatever we could, and we had, my mother corresponded with my, brothers in the United States and it took some time, because in those days, it wasn’t easy to send a letter. There was no transportation like there is today. No radio. It was very hard to live. My mother somehow or other managed to keep me, my two sisters, my brother alive. I don’t know how she did that. I don’t know.
PRINCE: Did she work?
KAMMER: She must have had to work to supply us with, I don’t know what she did. Don’t forget I was only a young kid. I was only thirteen, twelve years old. And I might not be too clear on that phase of it. But mother finally corresponded with her brothers in the United States and they send her shipping tickets from Beleya Tserkov to the United States.
PRINCE: Where in the United States?
PRINCE: Where, where did they live?
KAMMER: In St. Louis.
PRINCE: Oh, they lived in St. Louis?
KAMMER: They lived in St. Louis. She had one uncle in the cleaning business.
PRINCE: Cleaning business?
KAMMER: Yes. He had some _______ an picked up cleaning goods, in a yellow plaid cleaning plate. He had another brother in manufacturing, manufacturing I think, pants. Trousers, or whatever you want to call it. And I don’t recall him very much. But the uncle that had the cleaning business, managed by the cleaning place. The cleaning place the way I remember it was nothing bigger that_____, I don’t know. I don’t know how he cleaned or what he cleaned with.
PRINCE: Mr. Kammer, can we go back a little bit now and still talk about. Um, did you have your bar-Mitzvah?
KAMMER: Furniture?
PRINCE: No, did you have…
POTS: Your Bar-Mitzvah.
KAMMER: Oh, did I have my Bar-Mitzvah?
PRINCE: Uh huh?
KAMMER: I don’t recall.
KAMMER: I don’t think I did. I went through that time there was trouble. Pogroms. Some, some cities were completely wiped out. It’s hard to talk about it.
KAMMER: My mother had my father in the dining room looking for the bullet. Thinking if she could find the bullet, get a little bit out.
PRINCE: That’s a hard, sad thing to have happened to you. And, I know that it has followed you all your life.
KAMMER: I didn’t have any father, I didn’t have any family except my mother and my sisters. I had two sisters and a brother. There’s four kids. How she sustained us I don’t know.
PRINCE: Melody told me that your father used to take you over to the river. Together, you and your father. Did you…?
KAMMER: My father used to take me over to the what?
PRINCE: To go to the river or something? That you had some memory?
KAMMER: Oh yes, I was swimming those.
PRINCE: Tell me, tell me about that.
KAMMER: It was a small river, it wasn’t a big river.
KAMMER: Wasn’t the Vulga.
PRINCE: (laugh) Yeah, not the Vulga.
KAMMER: Wasn’t the Dapper. Was just a side stream.
PRINCE: (laugh) Yeah.
KAMMER: Used to take me over, he was a good swimmer. He was teaching me how to swim on his back. He kept me on his back and swam across the river. That’s what we called… It’s hard to talk about it.
PRINCE: What? Mr. Kammer. Tell me about your school. Tell me about your education?
KAMMER: My education?
KAMMER: Originally, in the house we speak; we spoke Yiddish. At the school, we spoke Russian. The teacher was a Russian. I knew Russian pretty good. I was reading a lot, even in those days. I don’t forget even Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy. I know Chekhov. Russians, big writers. I read them, most of, most all of those books. (Pause) But I didn’t have any father. I don’t know how the house was cleaned up. When I came to the house it was full of blood. It was full of blood, the porch, the bedroom. I don’t know. It was so… How it got cleaned up, I don’t know.
PRINCE: But it did.
KAMMER: It did get cleaned up. I think neighbors came out and helped.
KAMMER: Good. That’s a good. Cause neighbors were ___________.
PRINCE: You helped each other. Neighbors helped each other?
KAMMER: They had to. ___________ There was nothing else. I don’t know what I’d do.
PRINCE: Mr. Kammer? Did you have a synagogue or a shul that was close? In your town?
KAMMER: Did I have a what close to my town?
PRINCE: A synagogue? A synagogue where you went to worship? To pray? Were you orthodox?
POTS: Did you have a synagogue you went to in Russia?
KAMMER: Did I have a what?
POTS: A synagogue.
KAMMER: A syndog?
POTS: A shul?
KAMMER: A shul? A synagogue? Did I have a synagogue. We had a synagogue. It was also a school for Jewish people.
PRINCE: Did you go to cheder? Or did you?
KAMMER: I went to a school that learned Yiddish and Russian. They talked Yiddish and Russian. And I know those two languages, and I conversed in both languages.
PRINCE: Did you start when you were little at the cheder? You went to….
KAMMER: I must have started little cheder I grew up. I remember I was twelve or thirteen years old, and they sent me with food to my grandmothers. But I cam back to the yard, it was full of weeds. There was no lawnmowers in those days.
PRINCE: How did people cut the grass if there were no lawnmowers?
KAMMER: No, nobody cut grass. I don’t know.
PRINCE: I just kept growing?
KAMMER: Yeah it was that tall.
PRINCE: That tall. Did you have animals at your house, Mr. Kammer? Did you have animals at your house?
KAMMER: Yes, we had a couple dogs…
PRINCE: A cow?
KAMMER: _________________________ my sister has two dogs. Makes me _________ of earlier days. I don’t recall the earlier days.
PRINCE: Was your town. I can’t pronounce it properly, Buleatis?
KAMMER: My what?
PRINCE: Your town, or was it a village?
KAMMER: It was a town, and a town with a whites, called Beleya Tserkov. You know what Beleya Tserkov means “White Church”.
PRINCE: White church. Yes.
KAMMER: It was a big white church, and also a Jewish school in the basement. And my teachers basement of the school, I don’t know, it was ______________. In Russian. And then I went to school to must have been some kind of official school, cause the teacher talked in Russian.
PRINCE: Did you ever play with children that were not Jewish? Did you ever, did everybody play together?
KAMMER: Did I what?
POTS: Did you have any friends who were not Jewish.
KAMMER: I don’t think so. The town was anti-Semitic.
POTS: So, when you went to this other school, did you have friends who were not Jewish?
KAMMER: I don’t know. I don’t recall. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t.
PRINCE: Did you remember your mother’s…?
KAMMER: I know I couldn’t have had too much friends because they were mostly anti-Semitic.
PRINCE: Was, did, did the Jewish?
KAMMER: It was a mitzvah to kill a Jew. Today’s situation, I couldn’t have had too many friends that were not Jewish, I don’t know. Maybe some of them were not Jewish, I don’t know.
PRINCE: Tell me, when you were small, when you were young, tell me what you did with your Jewish friends? Did you play with Jewish friends?
KAMMER: I must have played I was a young kid.
PRINCE: What things, do you remember what…
KAMMER: I must have played. How could I haven’t. I must have played with Jewish kids, I must have played with mostly Jewish kids.
POTS: But what did you play?
KAMMER: Oh, what do kids play? Hide-n-seek, _______. What do kids play? Twelve years old is not too old to understand.
PRINCE: Do you remember your mother’s cooking?
KAMMER: Oh yes.
PRINCE: What did she cook?
KAMMER: Cutlets, mostly what I like. Do you know what cutlets are? You don’t know.
PRINCE: Cutlets?
KAMMER: It’s ground meat, with some bread mixed in it. I don’t know what else, some salt, pepper, whatever it is, and then she, I don’t know what she did with this. But she made us food.
PRINCE: Yes, and it was good?
KAMMER: It was. The _________ I still remember. The ketetler, was ground meat, mixes of bread, water, and some other, salt, pepper, I don’t know what it was.
PRINCE: Onion?
KAMMER: And maybe some kind of a, eh, a _____, pieces about this size. Fried. That’s what I recall, I don’t know. It’s hard to recall.
(PRINCE laughs)
POTS: That sounds good. It sounds delicious.
KAMMER: It sounds delicious, it was delicious. It was delicious, it was wonderful. It sounds like hamburgers but it isn’t.
POTS: Not hamburgers.
KAMMER: Doesn’t sound, doesn’t feel…

Tape 1 - Side 2

KAMMER: There were schools (pause) Was a gymnasia.
PRINCE: Gymnasium?
KAMMER: I went to a grade school in a gymnasia. I remember a gymnasia, where they’re teaching Russian, grammar and stuff like that. All in Russian. I read a lot. I read to ____ War and Peace, I read Tolstoy, I read Chekhov. It was fine Russian writers. I don’t recall_____ Russian. I don’t ____ but that time my father was dead, my mother was in touch with my uncles in the United States. And we would travel from Beleya Tserkov to Kiev. Which was the next largest city, and it was in Kiev, the two armies were fighting each other. One army was from Ukraine, ________ separate country. The other army was for Russia to dominate Ukraine. I don’t know whether that makes any sense.
PRINCE: Mm-Hmm. It does.
KAMMER: That’s what it is.
PRINCE: Is this what happened before?
KAMMER: That’s what happened in two hours, and both anti-Semitic. No matter who wins, I became time for us Jews ______.
PRINCE: Whoever won was gonna be…?
PRINCE: Whoever won was gonna be bad for the Jews?
POTS: Either army hurt the Jews?
KAMMER: The army was bad for everybody.
PRINCE: Mr. Kammer, did the World War One effect your family? World War One, when we?
KAMMER: It effected my family, one hundred percent.
PRINCE: World War. How? In what way?
KAMMER: In what way? We had to leave Russia. Couldn’t live there. Cause we were Jews. By ______ came because of the Jewish. They robbed us, all the merchandise my father went to Kiev. __________ sold it by the yard to the public.
PRINCE: You were still in Russia when World War One was going on?
PRINCE & KAMMER: (Together) World War One.
PRINCE: In 1914 to 1918.
KAMMER: I was in Russia.
PRINCE: Yes. And then, and then.
KAMMER: But it didn’t effect the eleven year olds.
PRINCE: Yeah, okay, that’s all I wanted….
KAMMER: I mean, politically it didn’t mean too much.
PRINCE: But it didn’t bother your town and nothing…
KAMMER: My family was bothered all the time because it was Jewish. Both armies were anti-Semitic. And they don’t matter which army came to town, Jews suffered.
PRINCE: And what about in 1917 there was a Russian Revolution and it became communist. Did that, did you, were you aware of that when you were young.
KAMMER: Yeah. I do recall. Russia becoming communist. I don’t, none of my time it wasn’t communist. In my time it was Russian and Ukrainian, halfway, half of Ukrainian, half Russian. The two armies were fighting each other, and we were in the way. My mother had touch with her brothers in the United States and we were on the way out. We went to Kiev. From Kiev we went to Petagrad, I think it was Petragrad. We got a ship to come to the United States, it was about three four weeks on the ship out at sea. The ship was rocking, we was seasick most of the time. We finally came to the United States. MY uncle met us, he didn’t meet us at the ship. He met us at his house. We traveled by train. It was some time to St. Louis from, I think it was Boston.
PRINCE: Did your, did your, uh, it was the Adriatic that you came on. The Adriatic, the ship? And…
KAMMER: Adriatic?
PRINCE: Adriatic. Melody said that that was the ship.
KAMMER: I think it was the ship.
PRINCE: And did you come to New York or Galveston?
KAMMER: Did I came to what?
POTS: New York or Galveston?
KAMMER: Eh, uh, I don’t remember. I think it was Boston.
PRINCE: Boston?
POTS: You think it was Boston?
KAMMER: I think it was Boston, I’m not sure. Could have been New York, I don’t know.
PRINCE: And then you took the train. To St. Louis…
KAMMER: I took a train to St. Louis. In St. Louis, my uncle met us.
(long pause)
POTS: Isadore?
POTS: That was a long trip.
KAMMER: It was a long trip. Yeah. Couple months.
PRINCE: How was it to be on the ship?
PRINCE: How was it to be on the ship? Was it crowded, were there lots of people?
KAMMER: Sure there were lots of people most of the time. It’s, uh, seasick. I was seasick most of the time. They said it was not a big ship. Looked to me, must have been. I don’t know, how big is this? I don’t know because the sea was the Adriatic.
PRINCE: Were there other people like you?
KAMMER: There were a lot of people. There were a lot of people.
PRINCE: Coming to America.
KAMMER: They were all vomiting.
PRINCE: What’d he’d say.
POTS: They were all vomiting.
KAMMER: They were all sick.
PRINCE: Oh they were all vomiting. But all coming to America for this…
KAMMER: My mother, brother, and two sisters. All the ships, we were all seasick.
PRINCE: Were you glad to be in America?
KAMMER: I don’t know where I came. It was New York or Boston. I think it was Boston, but I’m not sure. I know I was in the United States. We thank G-d when we got off the ship. Quit vomiting.
PRINCE: You were about seventeen years old?
KAMMER: No, I was twelve or thirteen years old.
PRINCE: You were what?
KAMMER: Twelve or thirteen years old. Don’t you remember me saying…?
POTS: Isadore. On the trip to the United States? You were that young, or were you older?
KAMMER: Maybe a year or two older. You know.
PRINCE: He was seventeen.
KAMMER: My mother got in touch with her brothers in the United States.
POTS: But you said it took a while.
KAMMER: Took a while, but not that many years. A month or two or three. I couldn’t have been that much older. I probably was about, I don’t know.
PRINCE: Seventeen, seventeen.
KAMMER: No. I was not seventeen.
PRINCE: (laughs) Yes.
POTS: That’s what it says in the records.
KAMMER: It says my record. Well maybe my record is right. I didn’t check my record.
PRINCE: (Laughs) You’re a very nice man.
KAMMER: It says I was seventeen?
PRINCE: Well, if you were born in 1906, and you came here in 1923.
KAMMER: 1923.
PRINCE: Yeah. Mr. Kammer, did you go to school? How did you learn English?
KAMMER: I must have gone to school, I couldn’t have learned this good fo English as I’m aware of. I speak good English. I think a lot. I remember a lot. But I can’t coordinate it properly.
PRINCE: I know that you have very strong feelings and thoughts because I know you, um, Melody showed me the articles that you write into the paper. She showed me a lot of articles that you.
KAMMER: I was Zionist most of the time.
PRINCE: Yes, yeah.
KAMMER: I was Zionistically inclined. Because of the treatment of Jews in Russia, I guess that has something to do with it. There was some anti-Semitism here in the United States too, not much but some. We had to live through that. I don’t know it’s hard to coordinate.
PRINCE: I have, um, do you re–?
KAMMER: I know we lived in St. Louis.
PRINCE: Do you remember when you became a citizen?
KAMMER: When I became I became a citizen. I know it yes. When I became, I remember. I don’t remember when. It was automatic. Automatic to become a citizen.
PRINCE: Well. Where. You became a pharmacist?
KAMMER: ___________________. I went, I must go to school here, to become a pharmacist. I must have come to school here. _______ English pretty good. Must have learned somehow or other.
KAMMER: I know I read a lot. _______ United States, I read a lot. A lot of Russian _________ in English. I learned three languages, and I read a lot.
PRINCE: And you write poetry?
KAMMER: What? Poetry?
KAMMER: Yes I wrote some poetry, I got some poetry there, poetry all over.
PRINCE: And you wrote some very nice poetry about Lisa.
POTS: The poem you wrote about you.
KAMMER: Oh. Did I write a poem about you? I don’t remember.
PRINCE: Yes. (laugh)
POTS: Oh, you don’t remember?
PRINCE: It was lovely.
KAMMER: I wrote a poem about people that I met. I wrote poems about people I became associated with. I_____ not only about you, a poem about my brother, a poem about _____.
PRINCE: Is there anything you want to talk about.
KAMMER: There anything else I want to talk about?
PRINCE: Yes, is there?
KAMMER: I was here in the United States and I became a citizen.
PRINCE: You married?
KAMMER: I lived. (Long pause) Yes I’m married 67 years. Lived with the same woman for 67 years. We were in love.
PRINCE: I’m sure.
KAMMER: It was a love affair. (Pause) She died just a couple of years ago. She was 88 when she died.
PRINCE: Did you write poetry for her?
KAMMER: All my poetry was for her.
(laughs from all)
PRINCE: I appreciate your letting me come and talk with you.
KAMMER: You appreciate it. I didn’t tell you too much.
PRINCE: Yes, you did.
KAMMER: I don’t know what to say.
PRINCE: You did just fine, and you’re doing, it’s just fine… You told me a couple of times how difficult it was for you and Jews in Russia and people need to know that.
KAMMER: ___________ Newsweek, and other literature. I got some over there. It’s my life, that’s all there is to it.
PRINCE: Well, Mr. Kammer…
KAMMER: I’m 97 years old.
PRINCE: You’re remarkable because you came form a small place in Russia where awful things happened, and you came to this country, and you learned another language, and you made your own way, and you became a businessperson, and was a pharmacist, and raised a family. That’s a lot. That’s a v—.
KAMMER: I was a business— Was a pharmacist.
PRINCE: That’s a lot, that’s a lot of hard work. And it’s wonderful.
KAMMER: It’s wonderful? What’s wonderful about it? I have a few prescriptions. Doctor’s wrote prescriptions, I find it hard to fill them. I bought the ingredients to fill the prescription, I learned how to make the ingredients, and I was fairly successful, not too much though. Never made a lot of money.
PRINCE: Well, that’s not always success. Success is, is just being a good person, and…
KAMMER: I was successful in learning to fill prescriptions. And that’s all my life. And my wife died couple years ago. She lived till she was 88 years old.
PRINCE: Did you teach her to cook that, that hamburger, that meat and, like your mother did?
KAMMER: Your what?
POTS: Could she cook like you mother…
KAMMER: Oh she was a delightful cook. She … I never ate as much with her…
POTS: Isadore, did she ever make that Russian dish that you like so much, that your mother made? Did she make that?
KAMMER: I know it was Russian dish._______ It was her dish. But it was delightful. She _________ cutlets, and they were delightful. Because that’s all I remember.
PRINCE: Alright, I’m gonna thank you, and if you think of something else that you want to talk about, I would be happy to come back.
KAMMER: Come back?
PRINCE: Uh-huh.
KAMMER: Come back whenever you feel like it.
KAMMER: I’ll talk to you as much as I can.
PRINCE: I’ve enjoyed meeting you, and….
KAMMER: I enjoyed meeting you.
PRINCE: And thank you for the time. I appreciate it.
KAMMER: I don’t know what else I can do for you.
PRINCE: That’s enough. You’ve done enough. And it was just fine.
[tape cuts]
PRINCE: Part of an oral history project at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center. And Your testimony will be a part of the archives that we are establishing. The, we are now beginning to interview Russians who came to this country, not like you, not in the early times, but after…
KAMMER: Well, I had a hard life.
PRINCE: After World War II. So this will be part of that.
PRINCE: Yes, you had a h—-
KAMMER: Still, I would like to see some of it.
PRINCE: It’s not going to be written up.
KAMMER: Not gonna be written up.
PRINCE: No. That’s not what we do.
KAMMER: It’s going to be someplace recorded.
PRINCE: It’s going to be in the archives, so that people can come in and listen to this and learn what it was like for you to live in Russia as a child.
POTS: You could listen to this tape.
KAMMER: I could listen to this tape?
POTS: Mm-hmm.
KAMMER: Good. That’s what I wanted to know.
PRINCE: That’s what you can do.
KAMMER: That’s what I wanted to know. That’s what I wanted to know.
KAMMER: Thank you very much.
PRINCE: Thank you very much. You’re welcome.
KAMMER: I’m sorry I c– That’s all I know.
PRINCE: You don’t have anything to be sorry about.

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