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in what is today Lyakhovichi, Belarus    


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This site is created as a way to further research and publication of materials on the history of Lyakhovichi.If you have been aided in your research and wish to contribute materials and resources to further our knowledge, contact Gary Palgon and ask how you can help.

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Biographies and Memoirs from Lyakhovichi

A Lyakhovichi Reminisce - Our Little River in Lyakhovichi
by Berta Turbavich, translated by Wilfred "Bill" Kay, 2008

This is a page in our Biography section. Click on the "Biography" button in the left-hand column to read other articles in this section.

By Berta Turbavich

Taken another day, but Berta Turbovich selected this picture from her father Alter Brevda's collection of Lyakhovichi photos, for the many memories it evoked

When I was a 9 or 10 year old child, I loved to go with our gentile domestic worker, Zosia, to the little river. There, she used to rinse the wash, while I played, stretched out on the little hill (the only hill in our town), I would sun myself and breathe the fresh morning air. I would jump into the little river, catch little fish, thrilled like a researcher after a successful experiment, roll them in sand, rinse them off and put them back in the water. Like a miracle - they would swim away.

Our valley had many, many little beautiful, interesting spots, which held old historical secrets; the area was filled with the croak from the frogs. One day, I overheard a conversation between my older sister and her friends; they were planning to go for a boat ride on the river the next morning. All day, I was nice to my sister; I did everything she asked me to do. Obviously, she didn't know the reason for my change in behavior when dealing with her. That evening: I said "my dear sister, please take me along on the boat ride on the river!" Can you imagine the joy; she said "yes, you can come along." I took a seat in the boat with my little white doggie in my lap, my beautiful sister with her girlfriend on one side, and two guys with a mandolin on the other side. The beautiful day, the blue water in the river, the girls singing, the sound of the mandolin, my enjoyment was so great, it is difficult to describe. Finally we reached Papleve; we hopped out from the boat and found ourselves in a sea full of flowers of every color. We stayed there a pretty long time; we used the flowers to weave wreaths; it was difficult to part from that sea.

On the way back, a storm moved in over the river area and it started to rock the boat from side to side like on a real sea. We were terrified, gripped with fear, but thankfully we returned home to our worried parents, safely. Our hearts were racing, not from fear, from the adventure and our luck.

Oh our beautiful little river!: It lived up to its name: Wiedma (witch), it swallowed people. My parents used to tell the story about a group of of boys and girls, skating happily on the frozen river, everything was so nice, suddenly there was a loud crack and a desperate cry for help rang out. All attempts to rescue them failed; several from the group drowned. That was their fate; the end of a happy life.

Our little river also provided material benefits to our town; it provided a livelihood for many families in the community. In the winter time, they would place barrels full of pickles under the ice. The Lyakhovicier pickles had a very good reputation throughout the region; the pickles were in great demand in Minsk, Wilno, and in the best restaurants in the large cities. Our beautiful little river, in the spring, frequently flooded the area in every direction, we called it the Lyakhovicier "Volga". More than once, barrels with pickles, from under the ice, turned up in Slonim, Pinsk and even in Danzig.

Berta Turbovich thought this photo taken by Alter Brevda, was the perfect illustration for her little river's winter bounty of ice, cold pickles, and skater's perils.


Do you have a letter, a story you remember being told, an essay a schoolchild in Lyakhovichi wrote? We can publish your long or short memoir, biography, or vignette, right here!

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Berta Turbovich, author of this piece, a child in the Lachowicze of the 1920s

Nehama Brevda, mother of the author
Alter Brevda, father of the author,
his memory reached back to the Kalte Shul destroyed in 1875; his photos captured Lechovichers lives for over half a century. He emigrated to Israel with his wife and most of his children including daughter Berta Turbovich, son Levi ben Amittai (the noted Israeli poet), and son Dov Ber Brevda, but Berta lost the beloved sister Rosa, described in this article, in the Holocaust in Lyakhovichi.
The Israeli poet Levi Ben Amitai, one of the siblings of author Berta Brevda Turbovich.