Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Franka Charlupski - November 19, 1981


The following is an interview with Mrs. Franka Charlupski. ??? November 19, 1981 in her home in Southfield, Michigan. The interviewer is Professor Sidney Bolkosky.


Okay. Uh, I'm Franka Charlupski. I was born Weintraub. I'm sixty-one years old. I was born in Łódź, Poland [pause] and lived through--until the war.

All right. Can we tell them, just in general, things about your life before the war? How many people were in family uh, whether you belonged to a, a shul...

Uh, we didn't belong to a shul in Europe. Uh, there was a shtiebel and that's where we went. Uh, there was no synagogue. Matter of fact, my family comes from rabbis. I was brought up in a strictly Orthodox home--a matter of fact a Hasidic home. And um, my father, my mother and we were six children, before the war. Uh, we went to school--we went to public school. We couldn't afford to go to college. And uh, we were a middle class family, financially. You got a dress for uh, Rosh Hashanah and a pair of shoes and you got a dress for Pesach. You didn't have to make a choice what you're gonna wear, you know, this is what you had. It was a, it was a very nice home. It was a warm home.

Were you the oldest? Or youngest?

No, I was the oldest. And that's all that's left now is three sisters. I'm the oldest, and my middle sister, and my youngest. And the rest all are gone.

They were killed in the war?

They were killed during the war. Uh, before the war I didn't work because when a Jewish family in Poland, a daughter didn't go to work. And didn't learn a uh, a um, what do you call it? A um, a trade. There was a--that wasn't the word then--but, we managed and uh, I remember my mother always saying, "Don't go here, don't go there you might be hurt," because as Jews we were persecuted in Poland before. In my time it wasn't uh, it wasn't like no uh, pogrom like the other--like in Russia. But uh, you didn't show that you were a Jew. You tried--you hided it.

Do you remember any anti-Semitic incidents before?

Um, myself personally. No.

Your family?

I don't think--no. I don't. But uh, there was always that feeling: don't do this, because they might catch you, and they might, they might hurt you. Be careful. Matter fact right now--I'm going now to my daughter--when she went to Spain, and uh, it was her sweet-sixteen gift and she studied in um, in Madrid, Spanish, Spanish literature I think. And when she was leaving she had Magen David and I said , "Honey, leave it home. Don't take it." That's the instinct that, you know, you're afraid. You're a Jew. Don't show that you are Jewish. And uh, she didn't. And the first letter she wrote me she said to me, "Mother, why didn't you let me take it? I told everybody anyhow I'm a Jew. I'm not afraid. I'm an American." But in me was that fear, that you don't show that you are a Jew.

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