Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Isaac Engel - June 16 & 25, 1992


The following is an interview with Isaac Engel at his home in Southfield, Michigan on the morning of June 16, 1992. The interviewer is Sidney Bolkosky.

Uh, could you tell me your name please, and where you're from?

Isaac Engel. I am from Zwoleń, Poland.

And uh, where exactly is Zwoleń?

Zwoleń is about twenty miles from Radom and about fifteen miles from Lublin. It's between Radom and Lublin.

So you were in the Radom district, is that true?


Um, tell me a little bit about life--your life before the war in Zwoleń.

Before the war, we had a bu...a hardware business. We had paint, we had, we had everything. We have in plywood and uh, anything you needed to build a house except brick, we had it. And metal, all kinda metals. And uh, my grandmother was in the same business in a different city, Lipsko. It was about sixteen miles away from there.

Your grandmother from your mother's side?

No, father's side.

Father's side?


How large--this was a family business then.


How large was your family?

Our family, three boys, my mother and father.

And aunts and uncles?

Aunt and uncles, they didn't live in the same city.

Well how...

They lived, most of 'em lived in Lublin and then Lipsko, where my, m...my father's side, his mother's uh, uh, you know, his brothers and sisters were in different city. He married, my mother was born in Zwoleń.

I see.

He married into Zwoleń.

So how large would you say your immediate, extended family was? Aunts, uncles, first cousins.

You mean all of 'em. My uh, from my mother's side they had nine children. They had five daughters and four sons. And from my father's side there was only four children. 'Cause my grandfather died young. And uh, my father didn't remember his father. When he was two years old. My father was the youngest. So there were two brothers and two sisters.

So that's thirteen--twelve aunts and uncles, right? Eleven aunts and uncles.


And cousins?

No, thirteen.

Thirteen altogether, counting your parents.

Thirteen. There was like from my father's side there was two brothers and two sisters. My father had a brother...


...and he had two sisters. On my mother's side they had, she had, she had four more sisters and five bro...and four brothers.

I see.


And they all had children.

Oh yeah, children. Some of 'em had grandchildren.

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