Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Miriam Monczyk-Laczkowska Ferber - December 7, 1999

Dislike of Church


thoughts he had, you know--it was. So I said to my mother, "Look. You are not a devoted Catholic. You, you're more of a traditional--um, I--do you mind if I stop? You know, I, I will go once in awhile because people have to see me in church, but, I'm gonna skip it." And, you know, she didn't put any pressures on me.


She said, "Fine, whatever you want to do, it's--you know."

You were...

And she was, yeah.

You were, you were it sounds like you were rebellious at that point.

I was rebellious because all of a sudden I was thinking to myself, who the hell is he to tell me whether I have absolution or not. As a child, as a, as a fourteen, fifteen-year-old girl, you know, we were very mature. To--here we shelter our children and, and we, it's a totally different way of life in America. But at the age of fourteen, fifteen, you know, you're very responsible. So, it's just a question of uh, no. My, my mother seen that, that I was very unhappy. I said, "What, I'm going through this old fashioned priest and, and we always went to hand...the most handsome priest, but that's beside the point, but. I said, who is he to give me absolution? What does he, you know, what is he, an author...authority on, on, on, eh, eh, eh, you know, on fatherhood, on, or uh, or uh, husband hood, or. What kind of relationship he has? He doesn't know anything. And the sermons were so stupid that always, you committed this sin and you going to go to hell. And, I mean, I don't have to tell you. I'm sure you've been to church.


Right now I go to Poland, you know, I hear some sermons and I'm impressed, actually. You know...


the modern priests are, are more up to date and everything. But before it was, it was a horrible thing.

But you had learned about Catholicism, I mean.

Oh my God, of course!

In school.

I had to go through the exams.

Was this a part of a public school?

You had to.

It was part of school...schooling.

No, it was not part of the schooling. Excuse me. At one point it was and then when it literally it became communist it couldn't. At first we did have a priest in school. But we went after school, like, kids go to Hebrew school. We had to go. We had to be part of the community. My God!

So do you know, can you, can you recite the cate...catechism, or...

Oh sure! I, sure. I know everything about Jesus and I. You know, we learned the Old Testament and the New Testament, you know. I can tell you everything about Jesus and, you know. And I was, I was very devoted in the beginning because I loved the stories and I belonged to all kinds of religious groups. And I used to stand, you know, in front of the--during Easter I had to stay in front of the eh, Jesus Christ's, eh, grave, you know. In, in church they have like a grave made-up, for Jesus during uh, Easter. You know, because he was crucified and, so we had to stand straight, you know, in a special uniform. I'll show you some of the picture.

W...when you went to church and when you went to school, do you remember any, any open discussion of, of anti-Semitism? Were...


they anti-Semitic?

They were not anti...but they were ignorant to say that he was Jewish.

They didn't know that.

There was, if they knew, they didn't talk about it. You know? They--like right now there is a, there is a, eh, eh, you know. This Lech Walesa. You know, the idiot. I mean, he's not an idiot really because he created something that he, you know, he's in wax museum in London, I shouldn't say he's crazy. But he's got--always, always, on the lapel of his suit, he has a picture of, of Mary. You know, the, the mother...

The mother.

of Jesus Christ.

Does he?

So one of the representatives in the government, who is Jewish, who was criticizing for the fact that he was Jewish, made the remark. He says, "They criticizing me that I'm Jewish. They don't want to vote for me because supposedly I'm Jewish, which I am," he says. "But look at Walesa. He's the only Polack that I know that carries a Jewish woman on his...


uh, lapel." You know, because they are ignorant. They, all of a sudden they forgot that Jesus was, was a Jew. That his mother was a Jew. That Joseph supposedly the, the one that took care of his, eh, mother, who's Virg...you know, Virgin Mary, was a Jew. They totally forgot about it. So, the religion did not teach us the Jewish, that Jesus was a Jew. But I did not hear any special remarks. The only thing is, the Jews killed Jesus. Jews killed. And it was only until the Pope, our recent Pope, that he corrected it. That he said that really the Romans killed him, not the Jews. But he was surrounded, his apostles were Jewish. You know, I just. Uh, but I was fascinated with the stories about Moses and then the, you know, I learned all of that, the Old Testament I learned in, in Catholicism.

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