Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Miriam Monczyk-Laczkowska Ferber - December 7, 1999

Story given to Germans


It's 1945 and about one months before the war was finished, the caretaker of this, of this apartment hou...house went to SS and denounced us. She said to the SS that Mrs. Łączkowska has a Jewish child. All of a sudden, you know, she was, Mrs. Łączkowska was forty years old and all of a sudden there was a little seven-months-old baby in her home. So, the, the caretaker decided that, that she, she became a Volksdeutsch you know, right away and, and she, she denounced us. So the SS came in and they arrested my Polish mother, myself and my Polish father. And we were all interrogated. Of course, I was three years old. I did look Jewish, because when you look at the pictures--I'm sure you've seen it downstairs last night--uh, I was, I had dark hair and blue eyes and I, I looked different. My Polish mother was pure blonde, had blue eyes and, and the Germans were questioning, they were interrogating. We were one months in jail. We were actually jailed. And I do remember uh, I have, like, flashes of, of, of the jail. Um, we were with four or five other women. And my Polish father was next door to us. And they were communicating with my Polish mother somehow what they should say or should not say to the Germans when they are--they will be interrogated. And my mother, my Polish mother was very brave. And she said to the Germans, "She is illegitimate child of my daughter. I have a seventeen-year-old daughter who had a child, who left it at my house and ran away." Why did she run away? Because if the Germans would have checked her blood and my blood, the whole family would have been killed. So that's what she said, "You can kill me, you can, I'm telling you the truth. I don't know who she had the child with. She, she's my granddaughter, she's not my daughter." So Germans--and they were looking at me and talking to me in German, they thought maybe I know Jewish so I would answer and I was looking at them like they would be crazy. So finally, they released us.

But she did have a seventeen-year-old daughter you said. Yes. She had a seventeen-year-old daughter and she had a...

But she said the daughter had...

she had a eighteen-year-old daughter and a seventeen-year-old son. So the daughter left. The daughter, Tacki, you know, she run away. She ran away because she knew the, the, the risks that they were taking. I mean, the whole family was involved in it. So now, after being in jail for, for four weeks, they let us go. They let us go, but my father, my Polish father, they sent to Mauthausen. They sent him to Mauthausen-Gusen and he was to be released, but he died of either Typhus or some kind of a terrible sickness. But he was supposed to be released.

Why did they send him there? Because, because of you?

Because, because of me and also, I think, at, at one point h...he listened to the radio which was, eh...


which was totally forbidden. But mostly we were arrested because of the fact that they had a Jewish child--that the Germans suspected a Jewish child. So 1945, after the war was finished, of course, my Polish father never came back. My Jewish parents were perished. Because somebody came from Auschwitz and, and, and they told uh, my Polish mother that, that she died and, eh, my father, of course, was killed in--as I said, in the Srodula ghetto, he was shot. And uh, we were just left and now m y mother, myself and my brother and my sister. My sister, my Po...I'm talking about Polish family now--we...

And this Polish sister had run away?

I didn't have anybody left from my Jewish family, so I became Polish girl. I was, that's the only family that I knew. I was Mir...Mirosława Łąckow...at that time I was still Miriam Monczyk because it was 1945. But in 1949, I was seven years old and I needed to go to school. The first grade in Poland starts at the age of seven. When I was in, in, eh, preschool um, you know, it was safe, even though everybody knew I was Jewish. Because the apartment building had, as I said, hundred and twenty families and the little children, eh, heard what the parents had to say to each other and the rumors was that, that I am Jewish. But at the age of, eh, five and six and seven, the little kids couldn't comprehend it, what they were hearing. So in 1949, I was ready to go to school. So my mother--my Polish mother, had to baptize me. But she didn't want to baptize me in the city of Sosnowiec. So she left to another city, because she didn't want anybody to know. And I was baptized at the age of seven. And at the age of nine, I went to communion.

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