Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993


Just the Jewish kids. And you went to cheder.

Went to cheder.

Tell me about cheder a little bit.

Well, cheder, cheder was a little room in a--literally like what hear on ???. It's the same thing. It was a little ??? Who became a malemed--you know what the word a melamed was? Uh, a teacher, you know, poor Jew. He had nothing else to--no ways--no means of support so he would undertake to become a melamed and he would take, you know, he would have fifteen or eighteen or twenty kids every day from morning till night. He would have to do this, and uh, teach us. We were all there and we were determined to upset his whole schedule. But we used to do the shtick, but we used to carry on. You got to go to the toilet. You got to go out and no going out--it wasn't allowed, and you got to get a drink, and uh, you know, and things like that, and they were, they were pretty rough. You know, in the middle of a lecture, you know, teach us, you would suddenly ask ??? and if you didn't know where, you know, where--if you didn't follow, he would lift you by an ear, literally. And there was no uh, no way you could complain, because when you came home and told your parents what the Rabbi did--what the melamed did, you'd get a beating because, "Why did you cause him to do that?" So I got plenty.

Do you remember his name?

I had several. One was Gershon melamed and...

So it was the first name...

Yeah. Gershon melamed. One man was--came from a different city so they called him the Wierzenica melamed because he came from that city Wierzenica. They were called Wierzenica melamed. Yeah, but, uh...

Did somebody put him up? Did the melamed--did he stay with somebody else?

No. He had, he had a little, you know, room someplace in a house. Lots of kids of his own, and these people were very, very poverty stricken--very poor people, but you'd be surprised how much we picked up the hard way, because the stuff that I remember is--it's unbelievable. It's like, it's like written in my brain. I forget everything, except I can't forget this stuff. It was so intense. Imagine, practically seven days a week. There was no, there was no other...

On Shabbos?

Not on, not on Saturday, we went to shul--to shtiebl in the morning. Finished davening, came home, had the meal, slept in the afternoon for a couple of hours while my grandfather slept, and he got up, and in the summer, we had to go to Pirkei Avot, you know. It's the chapters of the saying of the sages. Then you back to cheder. You probably go back for Mincha

And the end of the year, you would just...

And on winter, we had to go for, for another different type of prayer, and then it was time for Mincha. And then after Mincha, comes Ma'ariv. And the Ma'ariv--after Ma'ariv you have to make a Havdalah and that was the whole week. So there was never--and Sunday morning, we were back to, uh back to cheder.

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