Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Tola Gilbert - July 25, 1983

Education and Religion

Um, how far through school did you get before the war broke out?

Uh, only grade school. I, I went here to school and uh, I got my degree uh, from high school.

Uh, when you were in school, going to school in Poland um, how were you treated in the public schools?

Well, I tell you. Uh, fortunately in our town were two Jewish schools. They were great schools and supported by the federal government. Uh, so I didn't really feel anything because I was in my environment. I was with Jews only. But I know that uh, in other schools they suffered plenty. They must have, because even the children were brought up already to hate the Jews.

Was your family, what was your religious affiliation?

Oh my father was a very religious man. Uh, and uh, it was, I think it was just beautiful. I remember Friday evenings and Saturdays. The whole family was sitting at the table. We were all singing with my father. My father was uh, as religious as he was you know I always say when we talk with my sisters who are also uh, living in Cleveland also in the United States uh, we think that my father if he would be living here he would be less religious because he was so forwarded, he was so broadminded in, in uh, in certain aspects that uh, like we were very religious uh, and yet we used to go ice skating, we had bicycles, you know, which uh, in religious circles in Poland, this was taboo. But my father uh, when he was busy in the store and he didn't have time to eat, he didn't have time to say his prayers in order to eat, he would not eat until he had time to say his prayers. And uh, Sabbat was Sabbat. No work, no money, no nothing. He would go to the shul and uh, he would daven in the evening and he would pray in the morning. I mean, very religious. He comes from, from a very religious family. They were five brothers and they all, I am told, they finished something that they could be like rabbis. Uh, two of them were uh, how shall I say? They were uh, they didn't practice but they, they could uh, kill chickens in a kosher way.

A shochet?

A shochet, yes. One practiced and the other one didn't. Uh, and uh, my--all the five brothers--I remember when my grandmother passed away, I was a child at that time, and I remember that they used to say--I, I still don't say it right, ??? something like that, you know, the people were saying. So...

Did your...

We already were less religious, the children.

Yeah, yeah.

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