Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nancy Fordonski - May 29, 1982

Father

What were your fam…family's political affiliations?

My father was involved in many ac...uh, I say activities or in--he was very active in the city. He was on the Board of Education, he was in city hall, he was a member, and then Złochew belonged to Zieradz. This was a city uh, I don't know, ten or fifteen kilometers away from us. It's like uh, the governor's place? Like uh…

Capital?

It wasn't exactly the capital because the capital was Łódź. Not the capital of Poland, the capital of Poland was Warsaw. But in the states. We had states, yes? So my father was in Zieradz in that uh, in that special place where--it's like in the city hall.

Oh.

Yes, it's like in the city hall. He was, he was very active. And besides this, he was the--from the Jewish people, from the Jewish population above, he was the [pause] not, if I say the oldest you might think that he was already the oldest man, but he was uh, like the mayor above the Jewish people? Something like this.

Man in charge.

The man in charge, yes. So whatever was going on, let's say, we had a ritual, a mikvah.

Mm-hm.

So he's, was in charge of this and he was in charge of many other things what was going on in the Jewish community. That's why it was so bad for us when the war broke out. We were very frightened that time that when the Germans come in and they will right away look for the Ältester from the Juden. This is one what was the--in charge of the city. So they will take him out and you know, that they might, God forbid, do something to my father. This was the main reason that the first Friday night when the Germans crossed the border Friday in the daytime, that right after it got dark and after we gathered together just for a short while at the Shabbos table after the, the candles were lit and even they were still burning on the table, we fled. We were starting to walk to another you know, to another city just to skip town that my father shouldn't you know, be prosecuted for something, you know. So far he w...all the time he was one of the best people, but to the German Army, to the SS, we were afraid that you know, some--they should stop ask who was in charge of the Jewish population, so they will point out our father you know, the first one. So that's why my father didn't go by himself. We all took off together. We all left the city.

Can you describe your education? Uh, what grade you went to--you've already described the school.

Yes, we had seven grades. This was like here finishing high school when you had, you started school when you were seven years old. You were going to school 'til fourteen. And this was high school education. But besides this, like I mentioned, I was still going to the yeshiva, to beis yakov.


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