Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Fred Ferber - September 11 & 25, 2001


Um, how big was your family?

My family before the war was uh, my father, my mother, my brother and myself. Just four of us.

What about aunts and uncles?

Aunts and uncles, it was a very large family. My mother was one of eh, eleven. My father was one of nine. Uh, my mother had nine sisters, they were together nine sisters and three brothers. My father's side, there were eight brothers and one sister. My father orig...originally comes from Krakow. That's where uh, his family was. My mother's family was someplace near Zywiec. To be exact, it was in a smaller--became originally out of small village called uh, called uh, Sopotnia Mala, which is in a very lovely, gorgeous area located in the mountains uh, near Babia Gora, and, uh.

That's not on the map.

It, it. it's not on the map, no. Not on this map. Uh, so it, it's very, very beautiful area uh, as far as uh, gorgeous mountains are concerned. My father owned over the uh, a bar, a s...s...kind of a store. Actually the main, they lived mainly from the cows and the, and the chickens and the, and the geese that they had and also from the fields which they uh, uh, they had cherries over there. And of course all, all other kinds of uh, vegetation grew there.

So your father owned a small farm, It sounds...

My grandfather.

Your grandfather.

My grandfather on my mother's side.

Did you know your grandparents?

I knew my grandparents very, very well. I spent--before the war I spent uh, every year about six weeks at my grandparents in this particular Sopotnia Mala because that's where my mother's family was and some of her uncles, my uncles. Uh, her brothers and sisters had different stores, different businesses within certain area of Sopotnia Mala. So I spent with my family there six weeks. My family meaning my mother, my brother, myself during the summer vacations. Uh, and we enjoyed uh, the hospit...the hospitality of my grandfather and my grandmother.

Uh, you must have had a lot of cousins.

Well, most of my mother's sisters were married. And most of my father's brothers and the sister, was married. Each of them had uh, anywhere from uh, two to four children. And uh, so we had great amount of wonderful cousins. Uh, beautiful uh, when we got together was very happy occasions and happy times. Uh, yes, there was quite a, a large family, uh.

How many would you say, up to first cousins? How many people would you say?

Well, the very first cousins, my first uncles, let's say, on my mother's side of the family and my father's side was twenty. With the grandfather's alone was twenty-four. And with the, with the children, you, you multiply that ten times average of two or three would be another uh, twenty, thirty. So it was a minimum of fifty of us just the very, very close family.

Let me a--just to get out of step for a second, how many, how many of that fifty or sixty people survived?

Of the fifty people, my mother's sister survived. She survived the different concentration camps. My mother's brother survived in Russia. The two of them. Uh, on my father's side uh, let me just think, my, the grandfather survived the concentration camps and two brothers in Russia survived. And one--I'm sorry--and one sister, one sister through the concentration camps also, through the concentration camps, she survived also. So there was uh, two in Russia and two locally, so four of them survived.

And you...

Total, total was nine. So five and their families were, disappeared during the war.

So five people survived, counting you.

No, I was referring to my father's brothers.

Oh I see, so you think nine altogether?

There were nine brothers and sisters before the war...


...after the war there was only four left...

Four left...

...two of which survived in Russia and two survived in this country.

And their children were all killed?

There children were all, were all uh, no one found them after the war. They were all killed. Most of them uh, and most of them probably in Auschwitz.

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