Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Miriam Monczyk-Laczkowska Ferber - December 7, 1999

Polish Mother's Resourcefulness

Hm. That's interesting, so the Jewess came because there was another Jewish baby. Um, your Polish mother sounds like she was very resourceful...



Very courageous, very, um. Of course, she had to survive. Look, she--her husband never came back. And, eh, we were very p...we were poor. We had nothing to eat! And, eh, she worked. Uh, my brother went to Krakow and he, he studied engineering. So he needed help himself. Of course, he was on a scholarship. And we had a hard time. Once I went to school it was a little bit easier because, you know, she went to work and I, I had a key and I was responsible to, enough to open the door and, you know and just be by myself at some point and uh, it got a little bit better. But we were extremely poor. And that's where my uncles fibbed because there were three of them in America. They were not wealthy, but if they would have gathered three or five dollars a months or maybe get some uh, used clothes from other people and send me a package from time to time, we would have been on top of the world.

Do you think that she ever considered t...turning you over to the authorities?


No. I mean, it must have been, um, it was very difficult to shelter a Jewish child.

Yes, but she jeopardized her life and I don't know whether she realized what she was doing, you know. And once she did it, she, she stuck to it.

And what was your relationship with, with your brother?

Well, my brother and my sister, uh.

Your sister was--you said she had run away.

Yeah, but she got married later on and she had her own...

Ok, ok.

children. And she was more, more of a image of a mother because she was eighteen years older than myself and my brother was more of a, a father image, which he still is. My Polish mother was more of a grandmother, you know. She was overweight and I always worried about her, that she's going to have a problem with her heart. And, and there is a picture of me and her that I carry in my wallet. I always, always uh, slept with her and I always held her close and listened to her heartbeat. "Cause I was eve...always afraid that she may die on me.

Do you have the picture?

Yes, I have the picture.

You'll show it to me?

It's a beautiful picture. Yes, I will show you.

Okay um, do you have any recollection of the war years as a child?

No. Only few um, recollections of, of the jail, of the cell.

Flashes, you said.



No, not still. No. When I think about it, I, I can uh, I can visualize it.

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