Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Clara Dan - July 1, 1982

Outbreak of War

Let me just go back a second. We were talking before you were taken to the brick factory. But I just wanted to ask you...


what you remember about when the war began. Do you remember anything about hearing about the war? When it started...

[telephone rings--interruption in interview]

War beginning.

Yes, sure we heard. We heard about what the Germans were doing, but we always felt it couldn't happen to us. So we really and truly never believed in it. We know about Poland, oh absolutely. But you see, I grew up already the whole world. I mean in Romania they were anti-Semitic people, in Hungary was anti-Semitic people. But at that time, we Jews in Romania, I can talk for my own city, as I told you I was a child okay? It was such a long time ago that it's hard to believe I was a youngster once upon a time. But uh, really and truly when it hit me was when I realized that I can't finish my education because I'm a Jew. That's when it hit me. When the bicycles were taken away because I was a Jew. I had my yellow star. I had to wear my yellow star. And uh, I had to be careful at night because I was a Jew. So, absolutely hit me, sure. And we knew about it. The only thing is that you personally are not in this, in the shoe yourself, you don't have the shoe on, you really live a fairly normal life. Because after, after a certain time you get used to your own source. You know that this is what you have to do. For instance uh, my sister taught already privately piano and in the conservatory. And she had many, many Gentile friends in the conservatory who were teachers. And I was one of the pupils of an old lady whom I adored and I loved. In fact...

[telephone rings--interruption in interview]

Yes, so she was Gentile. And she kept telling us, don't worry, nothing is going to happen to you because you, we are professional people and it cannot happen. You, your, your sister, told me, your sister has a contract with the school. They just can't do that, and she was a Gentile from work. And uh, our neighbors, please don't worry, nothing will happen to you. It can't happen. And, because we started hearing already stories from Poland, from Germany. Okay, but the German Jews were always the most assimilated Jews. And then, in fact, one of our neighbor told us to get out for her to sew because my sister had a trousseau--hope chest, what you call it here okay? It was a good thing, she had it and I had ???. You know in Europe they took embroidery and my grandmother, may she rest in peace, she put all her grandchildren, the girls. So they told us come on, get your hope chest, board up yours and get the Persians rugs. And uh, we will save it for you. So my sister went and gave the hope chest to these neighbor of ours and the Persian rugs. And uh, the jewelry was given to this couple who promised us papers. Because he and his family had already mixed marriages. Which if they would get into a ghetto would have white, they would have to wear a white uh, ribbon because that was the sign of a mixed married couple.

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