Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Albert Fein - February 19, 2005

Religious Life

Was your family religious?

Not--listen, we consider ourself Jewish...


Yeah. We didn't practice too much, and my, my uncle, he used to go to synagogue--the other uncle--the oldest uncle. You know, in holidays he--we all, we all go for holidays, you know, to the synagogue. It's special, you know...

Well, what was a Friday night like at your house?

Uh, Friday nights uh, yeah, in the beginning when we came and my uncle was here, he's bypassed the thi...lighting candles and so far.

But not in Uzhorod?

In Uzhorod, in Uzhorod it was very religioused, very religioused.

Your whole family?

The whole family.

Did your father have a beard and...


This was modern Orthodox.

Modern Orthodox. Only he never worked on Shabbos. This was problem, you know. Before the war, my uncle was here, he send us papers, only he send a letter, he says, "Children, in America ..." you understand Yiddish? "In America, abeithan in Shabbos." What my father did--and this was in 1939, '39 or '40 even--just before World War II break out--so my father says, "What? I will go to, to America to work on Shabbos? I am not a Shabbos goy." You know? And that, that--and the war break out and we couldn't leave.

So you were, you were contemplating coming to the United States.

We was, we was ready to come, only my father didn't want to come. He didn't know this, this is a, a free country, you can--you want to work, you will work, you don't want to work, you won't work. I understand this now. When I was a kid, you know, in this time you ever hear about. My brother, older brother was thirteen years old, you know. We--religion, this was the first. I quit, I quit. This mean I couldn't go to Hebrew school anymore after the fifth, fifth grade. So two years I was going to cheder, I was going continuously. Cheder, this was my father's thing. And my mother said they--she--they have to learn general things too, because Hebrew--like here, we have the Hebrew school. It's not only a religious school, it just use the language. I spoke perfectly Hebrew--Ivrit. The thing was, since 1941, since Kamenetz-Podolsk, we stopped to mention Hebrews language. I, I will get to this, you know.

So you went to two schools. You went to a...


...private school and then to cheder.

Private in the morning and the afternoon we was going to cheder.

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