Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Tola Gilbert - July 25, 1983

Helping Others

Sure, sure. Were your parents ever active in any political groups?

My, my father was active in one way and I think it's a very great way. In his little shul they decided to have a, like a bank. Everybody would put in money in order to help the poor people. And he was the president of this. And I tell you a little story. At that time when the war broke out and we didn't have the ration cards and we're going to the bakeries for bread and sometimes we stood a whole day and we didn't get that bread, and one day I was standing there and it was already noon. And they said, "That's it, no more bread today." And I was standing in that lane and think--line and thinking to myself, what am I going, what are we going to eat today. And a woman came with a big stomach and a dirty apron and she says to me, "You are Zach's daughter?" And I said, "Yes," and I looked at her. And she said, "You're going to stay in that line? Your father saved me and my nine children from hunger. You go home and you come later to me and I give you bread." And she told me more or less when to come. And I came home and I didn't believe what I heard. And I said to my father, daddy I was there and there in the bakery and the woman from the bakery came to me and there was a big line. And she was not even afraid to say in front of everybody that she's going to give me later bread. "What did you do?" And my father smiling says, "Oh yeah, I know who it is." I even know the name, it's Schwarzberg Bakery. They had a bakery once upon a time not far from us, a little bakery. Her husband passed away and her oldest son with her was the leader of the, of the bakery. He must have been very young at that time because I remember him. When my father told me, I, I knew what my father was talking about because I remember that sometimes I would tell him please bake for me a little man. And he would make a little man for me from the uh, roll like. So anyhow uh, my father says smiling, "Oh yeah, oh yeah I know." "So what did you do, daddy?" And my father says, "Oh you know, I signed a..."

A note?

Checks for her for $3,000 because it got so in Poland that ??? who came to power, she was a minister of something, she uh, new ordinances she brought in, this was before the war uh, that uh, in a bakery you had to have uh, tile, ceramic tiles and machines to work the breads and the rolls uh, and these people were poor, they didn't have money so they closed up the bakery. And they were left without any means. So she came to my father and my father with the rest of the men decided that uh, they will give her some money. But there was not too much money. Where they have $3,000? So my mother signed for her uh, my father I mean, signed for her a check for $3,000 on his own. And you will ask how she paid out, we start to get a bread and she, giving us bread to the store she paid out over the years she paid out the money. But she remembered it. And I really did go, toward the evening, about six o'clock I went and I never forgot she gave me two big breads like this, long ones. They were two kilo each. You know what that meant at that time. So my father did some good work. Then I remember times my father, like I remember my mother always complaining when it came the uh, Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah. My father would go and collect money for the poor so they would have for Yontif. And it came so that we always were the last to eat the, the, the holiday dinner. And my mother used to get aggravated, why are we always the last and we have to go to the shul, you know. Uh, then I remember my father also like uh, before the war, which might strike you, as a young person, as very funny, my father would uh, they would bring him money for a bride. You know, so that he would keep the money until they got married. So they would get the money--the man would get the money, the nagim, the dowry.


So to a certain degree, he was active then. I know that he belonged to a rabbi, some kind of rabbi and he was active too and they were voting for a rabbi. I would not know to what rabbi especially since we were not as religious as my parents were, my father especially.

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