Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Isaac Engel - June 16 & 25, 1992

Religious Practices in the Camp

When you were in Skarzysko or in Czestochowa, was--were there, did people daven?

Some of 'em did.

What about for Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah?

Some of 'em did.

Did you?

Yeah. In the barrack. Later we organized, we--yeah.

Was it in secret?

Because we had to go to work too.

On that day.


Was it in secret? Did you hide it?

It was, it was like a secret, yeah. Even if the uh, the Jewish police knew or not, they didn't, they didn't interfere.

Do you remember what you were thinking in those things? I mean, what must have gone through your mind when you were...

A lot of things were going through my mind. A lot of things. But there wasn't--no, nobody could give you an answer for that. A lot of things were going through mind.

You told me that somebody came in before the...


...deportations and said where is God now.

Right. That was the night before they took out the Jews from our city.

Were you thinking that when you...

It was a Monday night.

...when you were in Skarzysko?

No, not really.

Did you ever?

Sometimes I did. Sometimes I did. [pause] I remember it was one time, it was Passover. We knew all the holidays when they came out. Even we didn't have calendars, but--it was on Passover night and then, and uh, I was gonna come uh, uh, you know, in, there was a, the day shift. Supposed to leave uh, come at seven 'clock. And we organized. That was in '44. And there was a organized ??? seder sit down there. So the Meister, the, the foreman came over named ???. He wasn't bad. And he left some people. He needed s...to finish up, he needed some extra work there for the night shift. And he left and he picked me up and he knows I was a good worker and picked me out and then ??? left me another four or five hours to work. So I was thinking about it. That, that here we, we arranged you know to come to the barrack and we arrange, we had some people you know, there were some religious people in that barrack which they davened everyday and, and uh, they even had tefillin. Uh, but that time, I don't know how they got 'em but uh, brought 'em in and they didn't take this away, no. Uh, and uh, so we arranged. Uh, and I couldn't uh, be there. So I was thinkin' about it.

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