Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Gun - August 12, 1999

Relations with non-Jews

Um, do you remember any, any kind of anti-Semitic expression from, from your neighbors or from things in the town?

I really don't. Uh, my brother has told me that there was many occasions, you know, where they called him a Zyd, which means Jew or somebody tried to hit him with a stick. But I personally do not remember. I guess I was too young. I never attended school.

So, he would have experienced this at school maybe.


And your father, did he do business with um, with non-Jews?


But what was the business he was in?

My father was uh, he had three businesses actually. He had a store that used to sell fabrics which uh, you know, was very important commodity those days. You know, people, there was no Hudson's and Macy's and people had to uh, usually sew their own clothing or else there was a tailor in town. So everybody came natural to buy cloth to make a suit or a dress or whatever. So this was one business which my mother was also involved in with him. And he also was involved in shipping--exporting eggs.


Yes. And also he was a partner with the mayor of our city in a tobacco--wholesale tobacco business. And I believe uh, the reason he had, he was with the mayor because uh, Jews were not allowed to own tobacco companies. And uh, it was on, on the mayor's name, the license. So, he was involved in quite a few businesses and uh, was very well to do. Uh, I remember many, you know--never, never uh, never being hungry. I also remember of uh, having bananas and oranges and grapes, which was quite a luxury those days. I'm sure that seventy-five, eighty percent of the kids in my city didn't ever saw that.

Do you remember if he was a, a veteran of the First World War?

My father? Uh, I really don't--he was born in 1900. So he probably was. The first war was what, in '17?

Nineteen-fourteen to 1918

Fourteen? No, he was too young.

But in the end he might have been able to.

I don't believe he was.

Sometimes that's a way to get a license to sell tobacco.

Oh, is that right?

Veterans. Um, so he had good relations with the community.

Very good and he was very, very liked. Uh, he was always working for the betterment of the poor. I mean, I know--from what I heard from my brother mainly, that he was always working, you know uh, he established a Jewish school, which he gave up part of our house for it. It was called the Volkschule. They were teaching mostly in Jewish, I believe, in Jewish language.

Folk, people's school.


Hm--uh, Was this open for people who couldn't send their children to...

Correct. It was open to everybody.

So he must have had quite a reputation probably beyond Rozhishche.

I'm sure. He used to travel. I also remember one--I, I must have been maybe five. And this I remember going on a train with him to, to Lwow, Lwow, which he, he used to go there for business. And I still can recall the, the plush on the train, you know, where we were sitting.

First class.

First class. Right.

Um, any other memories that stand out in your childhood? Pre-war...

Pre-war? Nothing special. I remember that we had a lady that used to take care of me because my mother, my mother went to work. And she was a Jewish woman that came from a different town, you know, from poor parents. And uh, she used to live in our house. And, you know...

A nanny?

Like a nanny.

What kind of work did your mother do?

She used to sell at the fabric store, because my father did not spend too much time in the fabric store. He was involved more with the eggs and then tobacco. So she sort of handled that store herself. And had lot of employees.

Was there a market day when..

I'm sure we had a, a market day. It was called a Ayarid, in Yiddish. Uh, that once a week, you know, all the farmers would come and there were...

Do you remember what day it was?

No, I really don't.

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