I probably share too many Yizkor book excerpts about market day in the shtetls. But the reason I am drawn to them is the vibrant picture of life that each presents. The reconstructed conversations that let you hear the way people speak and what they say. The portraits of real characters that they offer. The feel for the (shall I say, “robust”) haggling in each negotiation about a purchase.
“Once Shmulye Feyde said to a peasant while haggling;
– You want two gildn for such a handful of wood (30 Russian kopeks). I can carry it home on my shoulder!
– If you carry it home all at once, take it without cost! – The peasant said to him.
– Shmulye said, I hold you to your word.”
You’ll have to read the excerpt to see how that turned out. But when all was over, it was off to a tavern where “several glasses of 95 proof spirits were drunk, roasted goose was eaten and they went as good friends.
And, rounding out these accounts, dealing with shoplifters — “those who would miss no opportunity at lifting anything they could lay their hands on.”
Here are excerpts from the book of Rohatyn in Ukraine, and Czyzew-Osada, Kolbuszowa and Brzozów in Poland.
Silver Spring MD
Researching: DRACH, EBERT, KIMMEL, ZLOTNICK
Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel