Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Erna Blitzer Gorman - July 12, 1989

Grandfather/Family Life

What are your earliest memories of that time?

Do you want me to speak of the family or what I remember of the house, or what I remember of the town?

Yes, where you were living then.

I remember a square and I remember a house which is still in existence as a matter of fact, uh, a cousin of mine saw it two years ago and it is how I imagined it, how I remembered it in my mind. It was a very large square house with a courtyard in the middle and there were apartments all around the courtyard and, um, the house giving to the square where there were some little shops; and my grandfather's apartment was in the back of the courtyard and I remember that very vividly. I remember my a grandfather, not a grandmother but many uncles and aunts. I remembered it being sort of a busy place with my grandfather shouting; a very boisterous type of a person.

Was he a religious person?

Well, I think he was not quite, he was religious, but I don't think he was extremely religious, but he wore black, I see him in black and I see him with a beard and I see him quite tall.

Your parents, were they orthodox as well?


That must have created some tension in the house do you think?

Well, my father and my grandfather had very poor rapport because I think this is why my father left for France, um, my father being one of the youngest I think he was sort of a spoiled child of the family and sort of a playboy, what I gather, and um, my grandfather had a lumber business, very extensive lumber business, I guess they were selling lumber to the Polish government and what I gather is my father didn't want to work, he was a bit lazy and didn't want to do too much except ride his horses, or whatever and play around and there was a lot of dissention between the two of them and one day the story goes is that my grandfather demanded something of my father and my father refused to do it and my grandfather slapped my father's face and my father left, decided to leave home and changed his name to Blitzer from Krolek. My name really should have been Krolek.

And they he moved to France to Metz?


What did your father do in Metz?

He was a merchant, um, not very successful, um, he was selling, what I have in my mind he used to call it a schmata business, which is clothes.

While you were living in your grandfather's home did you have playmates, did you and your sister play together?

I have no recollection of that, all I remember is my grandfather being constantly cross and yelling a great deal andgot angry at me once, I don't know, I must have done something terrible, he threw me at the wall.

Violently, angry?

Yes, violently, he picked me up and threw me against the wall, I don't know what I did, but that is what I remember of him and I am sure he had, there were nice things but being I was so young, that is what stands out.

Did you have a close relationship with your mother or your sister?

At that particular time, I don't remember anything, no. I don't rememberever being held, or ever being talked to or whatever, maybe it was just too long ago and I don't remember.

Do you remember the Germans?

I saw Germans only a few times, um, I remember just having an extreme fear of them.


Yes, soldiers.

Any part of the war, gunfire, artillery, tanks, anything like that?

In the beginning? No.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn