Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Isaac Engel - June 16 & 25, 1992

Relations with Non-Jews

Was there any trouble ever?

Yes, but in lately...In, in, like in '37, they start, they started picketing Jewish stores. And it says not to buy from Jews, like, because there--there's going to be, Poland is going to be poorer. You see they had a, like a grammar. It said in Polish, that says ???. You know, it's a gram...but uh, but I'm telling you in English. It's like, don't buy from a Jew because Poland is going to be poor. That's what its meaning in--but it still, the business wasn't--they didn't, there was a couple non-Jewish stores. But one of 'em used to come to buy from us. And he used to come to buy--he was the mayor from the city's brother--and he used to come at six o'clock in the morning so nobody should see him when he bought the stuff. So...

Do you remember when Pilsudski died?

Yes. Around '35 I would say, in that area, that I think so, in '35. He was the one, he protected minorities in Poland. When he died, really the trouble started. Then they were--they were afraid of him. He was a powerful man. He was a semi-dictator. But if, if uh, anything had happened, he, he used the army. He didn't let go--things go out of hand. He had things pretty much under control.

What--did your family ever talk about politics? Did they ever talk about Pilsudski at your house?

Oh yeah sure, everybo...who didn't talk Pilsudski? Everybody knew him and ev...knew him, not personally, but uh, ???

And when he died...

When he died, they made--people, they went--I remember in the synagogue by us, they made a, a keil mileh rachmin for him in the synagogue. The cantor. In the big synagogue.

Were people worried at that point?

Oh yes.

That there would be anti-Semitism?

Yes. They were--anti-Semitism was always. Poland was the biggest anti-Semitic country in the world, as far as I know. But when he--they were just waiting for him to die. So then they really, they can come out from hiding, like. Then the, then everything was legal. Those organizations. There were ce...certain organizations. They would call themselves ???. And, and before they, they were, they were there, but you didn't see 'em. But then they really came out, they were, start picketing, picketing uh, stores.

What's ???

And they would start beating up Jews.

What's ??? Is that a name of one of their organizations?

The organization yeah. And that's...

Do you know what it meant?

It was a Polish organization, anti-Semitic organization.

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