Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Steve Collins - May 10, 1982


The following is a recording of Mr. Steve Collins done on May 10, 1982 in his home in West Bloomfield, and the interviewer is Mrs. Eva Lipton. Alright, I'm--I'd like to first talk about pre-war Poland. If you could tell me about the town you lived in?

I come from town, Płońsk, it's near Warsaw.

And what year were you born in?

I'm born in 1918. October 7, 1918. Our family about seven children, father, mother through the war until 1939. Was a population, Jewish population uh, I would say...I don't know myself really. A big Jewish population, was a Jewish town over there before the war.

Did you live in the main town of Płońsk?

Yes, of course, we all lived in the main town. Very famous people was, like Ben-Gurion the prime minister for Israel was from my town...was Mr. Gurion. Then I knew his whole family, his father even, Ben-Gurion's father, the whole family. Later before the war, was a prosperous little town...very beautiful young people. All different kinds...Zionists, Socialist, Communist.

Did you belong to any of those groups? Do you remember the names of them?

Sure. First, most when you're young growing up, I didn't belong because I was too young, to a party...but there was Zionists, socialist, uh--Zionist working. People like, like Shomer Hatzair.


Yes. When I was growing up, then later in 1939 when the war broke out--two days of war. Uh, on my way to Warsaw, I...

Let's first talk about, if we could just stop for awhile. Let's just first talk about Płońsk and your family. Um, you said that there were how many children?


Seven. What number were you in the family?

About the number would be...fourth.

You were the fourth one.

Four. Fourth, fifth.



How many boys and how many girls?

Three boys, four girl.

Three boys and four girls. And um, what kind of work did your father do?

They do tailoring.


Tailoring, all the girls was working.

All the girls in your family worked for your father?

No, no, but was self-sufficient. Work themselves...had the latest clothes.

They were seamstresses?

Yeah, latest clothes shops.

Oh they had their own businesses?

Shops, yes, yes, yes. ???

Did your mother um, work too?


No, she...

She cooked, taking care of par...you know.


All worked together and very close family, like most in Europe. All for survival we need help from each other. Uh, I mean the closeness.

Mm-hm. Would you--were you a religious family?

Uh...the children, not really but father...well, standard. Went everyday to the synagogue, yes.

He went every day. Did he have a beard?


Did your mother wear a sheitl?

Uh, on Shabbos, yes. Saturdays...

On Shabbos. Did she shave her hair?

No, no they was not so religious, no. Just her own hair and on Saturdays she put on...she may, perhaps she may put on the sheitl but uh, everyday, no. She wouldn't wear the sheitl, she had her own hair. So, yes.

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