Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Emerich Grinbaum - October 3, 2000 & January 8, 2001



When you went to school did you learn religious prayers and things like that?

A lot, you know. We studied more than--we, we learned Tanách. We were very, very versed in Chumash and Tanách and we studied a lot with explanations, we discussed. So we studied that, you know. And the prayers I learned before because we go--before going to school I was five, I went to the cheder, I went a couple of years, so we learned that. But you know, the interesting thing in the cheder the translation was Ashkenazi pronunciation. And when the, in the Hebrew school we studied the Sephardi, the regular Hebrew and the Siphrut with the, the literature and Bialik and everything, but the real. So eh, then we changed. But I still can read in both ways whatever I want, uh.

Do you still read Hebrew literature?

Yes, I'm going to the Hebrew school every Sunday uh, to Mira Lev which is a midrash college and there are different...uh, we're going to the highest level because we discuss Israeli topics and, and reading newspapers and discuss politics. And, of course uh, my Hebrew is, is not as good as it was. The reason is this. If you, I--if I may say, because after '45 when came back, I didn't talk Hebrew at all until I came here. So for thirty-five years or something, no Hebrew. So I almost forgot.

Under the Soviet regime.

Soviet regime there was no Hebrew at all. First of all, nowhere, no, nobody to talk to. And secondly it was forbidden. You can speak a little Yi...Yiddish, is--it was not suspicious. Hebrew language was a bourgeois language.

But you knew Yiddish.

Not very good. I uh, I--the reason I--I tell you, my father was fluent, he-- Yiddish, no problem. My mother didn't speak much Yiddish. She was from Hungarian village and the Hungarian villages didn't speak much He...uh, Yiddish. So mother influenced us. We learned a little bit when we were going to the cheder, we learned Yiddish. But after I went to the, we went to the Hebrew school, the, to the secular, we didn't speak Yiddish at all.

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