Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Franka Charlupski - June 18, 1985

Life in Łódź Before the War

Uh, when you were younger, before the war began...


How would you describe your life with your family in Łódź before the war?

Oh, we were an Orthodox family uh, our children went to public schools, my brothers went to yeshivas. Uh, it was a normal balebatishkeyt-how do you say that?-household uh, with respect uh, we were raised to uh, respect people, to honor our parents' wishes...We were a normal European family.

Did you go to theater? Did you...?

Oh, yeah, we went to theater, we went to movies uh, we couldn't go on the Sabbath because uh, my parents wouldn't allow it but we did. Yes, we had a normal life, a, a European normal life. We went to shows, we went to dances uh, we went to public schools. It's a different life than here, our children are growing up completely different.

Uh, did you have non-Jewish friends?

Yes, I had German friends. Volksdeutsche, which was uh, Germans that lived in Poland. Uh, matter of fact, I grew up with them. We were, we used to go to a uh, village outside of Łódź. I don't remember how many kilometers it was. And the same farmer rented to the house to us every summer of I don't remember how many years, and in 1933, when Hitler came to power, they were sending...This was a German village and the Hitlerjugend came in. And the kids asked me to go with them, there was going to be a dance and I went. I was all of, uh...At that time, I was all of thirteen. I did that before, I used to go with them. And uh, somehow, it was different that time. I couldn't pinpoint, I didn't realize, I didn't understand, we never heard of it, and I came home and I said to my mother, you know, "That's all you heard is "Juden, Juden, Juden" but I don't know what they were talking about." But they didn't treat me the same way as every year. We, we didn't know...It was just the beginning. And we never went back. That was the beginning of the anti-Semitism brought in, brought into the Polish community. I mean there was always anti-Semitism in Poland but there was a different kind.

You maintained your friendships with...


Volksdeutsche. With none of them?

In the city, yes, we, we lived right next door. I mean uh, we couldn't help it but Myfel Weintraub was their friend.

When you were sent to the ghetto, how did some of these people react?

Uh, we didn't live there anymore, we lived in another place where we didn't uh, this was uh, uh, we lived with the Germans that was in 19...from 19...I was born in 1920 in that place until about 1930, 1933. Uh, then we moved away. We lived in another part of the city and there were no Germans there. No, we didn't remain the friendship.

I just want to ask you one thing. What do you remember...Do you remember anything about a Friday night in your house? What was that like?

Friday night in our house uh, uh, my father came home from work, everybody took a bath, everybody got dressed for Shabbos. Uh, we had Shabbos candles, we had Kiddush, and there was a meal, and God forbid, if you showed up five minutes after your father made Kiddush. So uh, it was a very, very Orthodox home that I grew up in. Shabbos was holy.

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