Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Death of Piłsudski

Let me take you back to Piłsudski for a minute. Do you remember when he died?


What kind of reactions do you remember in your house?

Well, the Jewish uh, population was upset with, you know, his dying because they considered him sort of a protector of the Jews. I didn't understand why, because I suppose he came in with the early twenties, you know, and Poland became a state, and he was--I don't know, they were saying he was friendly, and they were forming the Polish government, and, and uh, their relation to the Jews and so on. The only thing I do know that the, that the Poles called him Dziadek. It means grandpa, and they told everybody that, "Dziadek--grandpa just died, and now we're going to take care of you" This was, you know, trapping the Jews.

You heard that?

Yes. I mean this was constant talk. Once he dies, then it's all the jig is up.

And were there any...

And then when he died, you know, they felt that, you know, there will be a change in the relations between the government and the Jewish community.

And was there?

There was. Yes. There was.

Was there any instances of vandalism for example?

Uh, no, no, but the atmosphere changed. You know, you heard the story in the uh, in the universities in Warsaw, you know, the medical students. It must have been seeking all over the world where they were uh, hiding and throwing them out of the class, and they finally established the uh, the quota system. I remember--I didn't understand at that time what it meant, but they were Latin words that were flashed around. If the government wanted the word, "numurus ???" and they agreed to numerus clausus. Numerus ??? probably means no Jews.

No Jews and then numerus clausus is a percentage.

Exactly. So this I remember as a kid hearing, you know, numerus and it was clausus you know, whatever they meant, but the atmosphere changed, and then there was the Prime Minister. I think it was a general by the name of Składkowski who made the statement, you know, official statement that he were--that he would not buy from Jews.

This was the Polish, right?

Polish, yeah, but he happened to--he was the Prime Minister. So the whole atmosphere changed then--the government--and I mean, not that the Poles needed any uh, anything to entice them to...

But you had never experienced any of that directly then.

No. No, because I was--I lived in a sort of a very closed atmosphere.

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