Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Miriam Monczyk-Laczkowska Ferber - December 7, 1999

Family Background

Do you have the birth certificate?


Can I make a copy?

I have the birth certificate.

Is there a German um, stamp on it?

Yeah, yes, yes.

You said your father had nine, he was one of nine brothers?

Uh huh.

And did any of them survive?

Yes. So, now in 1945, um uh, well, my mother, before she went to, to Auschwitz, right out of the ghetto, she wrote a little note to one of her brother-in-laws, Mr. Monczyk, Israel Monczyk. And she wrote to him and it was smuggled by another Gentile righteous person into the Auschwitz, in the, behind a collar of a, of a shirt. And what the little note said that I am leaving my, my daughter Miriam with family Łączkowskas and they live in Sosnowiec and she gave him the address. So, that brother-in-law, who was the, actually brother of my father, kept the note. And thank God he did survive. He survived the camps with, with another brother, uncle Jack, Yakov. And they both knew exactly where I was. So, in 1945 one of the uncles came into my uh, Polish mother, at that point she was my mother and he wanted to take me away. I was, in 1945 I was three years old. And my mother said, "I'm very sorry, but I don't know who you are and uh, I'm waiting for her parents to come, it's only three months after the war, maybe they will come. I cannot give you a child, you're too young,"--he was maybe, like, twenty-some years old, "and I cannot, I promised the parents that I will keep her. I don't know who you are. Come later on." Well, he never came back. He went to America with his, eh, brother, uncle uh, Israel. And he also had a sister who survived, who later on lived in Detroit. Uh, Mrs. Peshlinski. And they forgot about my existence, which is not really a nice thing to say, but that's the truth. So we were left in Po...I was left in Poland in a home.

When they came to see you, when he came to get you...


or he, for whatever reason he came, did you see him when he came? You were three, I don't know if you

I was three years old and he, later on he was telling me a story that I said to him uh, look at the Yid, look at the Jew. I mean, crazy stories. I never, my uncle just died. My last uncle, eh, uncle Jack, the one that, that came in 1945, died fourteen years ago. My aunt, Mrs. Fisk died about nine years ago. My uncle Israel, whom I ver...was very close to because of the fact that he was very close to my father, he just died two weeks ago. And I have him on a, on a tape. I have him interviewed on a video because I had Jeff Shambet come in and he did the video, so I know a lot of things from him. But um, they never, they forgot about my existence for nineteen years.

And this was your uncle Jack who came to see you.

Right, right. He never--supposedly their side of the story is that they wrote letters, and...But my--we were, we were extremely poor, very, very poor. Well, let, let me go back now.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn