Dora Zuer Iwler
b. Chodorów, Poland, 1923
My parents, Yehuda and Sima, worked very hard in our small fruit store and our home in Chodorów, near Lvov, Poland. My brother, Moshe Lazer, and I worked in the store after school also. Father supplemented his meager income by collecting scrap metal with a friend. Once a week he went to Lvov to restock the store, while Mother took care of the customers.
Thursdays, market days in our town, were when my mother bought all the food to prepare for Shabbat. I stayed home to care for my younger brother Yitzhak and sister Miriam. We all looked forward to the treats Mother brought back from the market for us.
Fridays were spent cooking and baking bread. We made our own butter, and we each had a glass of milk on the window sill which eventually separated into layers of milk, yogurt, and cream. I still remember the delicious tastes and smells.
On Shabbat, the six of us walked to the synagogue together. My father looked at all of us with such pride in his eyes. Mother was a quiet, religious woman who had come from a family of eleven children. She had long brown hair which she wore in a braid wrapped in a bun and pinned to the back of her head. She dressed modestly, but she always looked beautiful to me. Her four children gave her very little free time.
My brother Moshe Lazer was handsome; the girls loved his black hair and tall build. Since he was only eighteen months older than me, we had lots of mutual friends. He was known to get in trouble pretty often and sometimes I got caught with him. Once, when we were quite young, we went to the circus without telling our parents. They were worried sick about us because we were gone so long. We got a good whipping with Father's belt when we got back, which I suppose we deserved.
My sister, Miriam, was three years younger than me. She was a beautiful brunette and quite shy and reserved, unlike me. She loved to stay home with Mother and our brother Yitzhak, who was six years younger than I. Miriam and Yitzhak went to school together every day and then to Cheder. I still picture Yitzhak going down the street spinning a wheel with a stick or playing dominoes at the table with Miriam.
This beautiful, simple life came to an end in 1942 when the Nazis declared