Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nancy Fordonski - May 29, 1982

Talking About Experiences (Continued)

Let me go back to um, talking about your experiences. Did you ever uh, talk to your neighbors or co-workers about your experiences during the war?

Yeah, I will bring up something but maybe I should, maybe I shouldn't. But I grew up in a country that it was a uh, you know, Poland is a Christian country, yes? So from childhood there was rumors that uh, that what the Gentiles used to say--that for Pesach, when we bake matzos, we have to have blood from a Gentile child to put in the matzos. Besides this, I don't have to tell you how ignorant it was, because uh, there is no such thing. How can you put in, in all the matzohs to have the empty bread? So I had a neighbor years ago and she was Gentile people, very nice people, intelligent people. And uh, she was from Polish parents, but she was born here. And I was so close with her. We were very close when some, there were days that I had to run out to get something from the store. So, so I used to leave my children with her and she knew that she wouldn't give 'em, them anything what isn't kosher. Or she wouldn't give them any crackers what isn't kosher, whatever. Or it's just a little milk in a paper cup or so forth. She know-- she knew that I observed kosher so she wouldn't go any you know, she wouldn't do anything otherwise. So one day she came to my house, and this was before Passover, and she says to me, "Nadia, I know you for so many years," and then she, "please tell me and I know I get from you the right answer. Is it true that before Passover when they make the matzos they have to kill a Gentile child to have the blood?" You see, she was raised here, she grew up here and she lived with us already for the longest ti...time next door. And to come up with something like this. So I used to tell her, "Helen you know what I went through in my life." 'Cause I used to tell her sometimes stories this and that because her parents were born in Poland too, so we used to talk about old times. So I said, "Now after all those years I felt that I'm really close to you and you are close to me. And all of a sudden I feel that we are worlds apart. That something like this can come into your mind and come out from your mouth." This incident I had with the Gentile family, the Gentile lady. But we cannot say that all Jewish people are nice and we cannot say that all uh, newcomers are bad or good or all American are good or bad. We are all human, we make mistakes. We say things what we shouldn't and we do, we do things what we shouldn't. And many times you can just regret, but you can't go back. Here I have another incident when we moved in, in that place where we still are. And uh, I just shook out a little cloth. The neighbor had opened up the window and she calls over to me, "You ignorant refugee. Don't you know any better not to shake out your little duster here?" You don't have any answer for this. I don't either. And I'm talking now to her and we are very friendly. Because in my mind I was thinking, if she's ignorant…

Doesn't mean you have to…

doesn't mean that uh, I have to be. Because I was, I am the refugee and she is [laughs] born here. Ah, she is, she is the lucky one.

She's lucky, but doesn't make you a refugee if you're, you're naturalized.

She's lucky and, and I don't know. 'Til now I cannot uh, find any answer why I had to suffer. Not, God forbid that I say that somebody else has to suffer too or go through what we went through. We hope it will never repeat.

Mm-hm.

But many times I'm thinking, why did it happen to me. Why. But there is no, that is a question without an answer.


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