Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

German Refugees

Was there ever any talk in the '30s about what was going on in Germany?

Yes, yes. We knew in the papers they were writing about Hitler. We were following what was going on. Hitler came to power, and we used to see pictures in the Jewish newspapers and the Polish newspapers. It was all--but somehow--I don't know, we never, uh, as kids, we never felt the danger. We didn't um, we thought it was in another country.

Were there any Jews who came from Germany?

Yes. Uh, I remember--I think it was in '37 or '38 when they started pushing across the Polish border a lot of Jews that were born in Poland. And as a matter of fact, some of them came to our city, and, uh, one in particular must have been a Cantor in Germany or something, and he stayed with a family in Nasielsk. And I remember, he called--he was going to do a Shabbos service--not in our shtiebl. He wouldn't be allowed. ??? But, in the shul, you know, where the rest of the Jews, you know, down--and he needed a choir, and I remember my brother and I and my friend from London and another two fellows came. We visited there, and he was teaching us a song that he was going to sing with us. I remember it like it was today. I still remember what he was saying. He would start out, you know, like conversation between the father and a child. The child starts out "A gut shabes der Rebbe" and then he would sing ???, and the child would answer ???. Do you understand that?

Translate it.

Yes. Uh, you know, "Good Shabbos... Rabbi.

...Rabbi." Then he would say, "What would you like? What's your request child?" The child would answer, "A velvet hat for Shabbos." And he would ???, and then the child would answer, "???" It means a thousand whatever. ??? You know it's so many years, I don't know how that stuck in my mind. But the other day, I was thinking about it, and I could see him sitting there and teaching us.

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