Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Gun - August 27, 1993

Education and Religion

Did you go to school in Rozhishche?

Never went to school in Rozhishche because uh, at the age of 7, 1941, is when the Germans came in.

So the community school, Volkschule was--you were too young to go to...

Too young. My brother went to school.

What about um, you said your fa... family wasn't terribly religious?


On Shabbos would have a spe... special meal?

Uh, Friday night.

Tell me about that.

Uh, Friday night my uh, I do remember occasionally where my father's mother would come over, like for Friday night dinner. But otherwise uh, I can recall occasionally going with my father to shul on Shabbos. But as I mentioned before uh, we were not uh, my family was not religious.

Uh, did you speak Polish at home?

No, in our part of town we spoke strictly--in our part of the country uh, rather we spoke mainly Jewish in the house, didn't know any Polish at all.

So did you have any non-Jewish friends?

Mm-mm, not that I can recall.

Your father, did he do business with non-Jews?

Yes, my father did a lot of business with non-Jews as I mentioned as a partner, he was a partner with the mayor of the city, and the reason he was a partner with him was because a Jew, I guess, couldn't own a tobacco company. So him being in on his--they took it out in his name, I guess the license or the ownership, and uh, this is how it operated.

So, you, you wouldn't remem... remember hearing about any anti-Sem... anti-Semitism in the city?

No, I really don't.

No violence from other children, nothing like that?

I dont, I really dont.

The, the, are there any childhood, pre-war childhood memories that stand out in your, in your mind? Any kinds of routine that you followed--songs your mother sang, your father sang, your grandmother sang?

Uh, I can only remember vaguely my mother, my mother used to also work and we used to have a, a girl in the house that used to take care of me.


Uh, I believe she was Jewish, from a poor family, from a different town and uh, she used to take care of the children and the house because my mother worked every day. But I recall my mother coming home and like trying to feed me and, and uh, I really didnt--I remember, you know, s... singing and--I also remember occasionally where I want, where I want to... [pause]


I re... uh, things that stand out in my mind, I remember sleeping together with my parents at night, I dont know if I woke up scared from a, a dream or uh, from thunder, but I do recall sleeping in between the two of them. And uh, thats about the only thing that I have, as far as remembering from before the war. Uh, a lot of times, you know, it seems like I uh, like its a fantasy to have parents because uh, to lose them at such a young age uh, just uh, you know, that is like a dream.

Um, [pause] do you remember any discussions about the, the war coming? Was there political talk in your house, do you, do you think that you remember anything?

Yes, I do recall vaguely that, you know, like my father used to listen to the radio and uh, they used to hear that all the Germans came in over there or occupied over there, and, and it just seemed like they wont come here, or what would they want to do in a town like this, or--it was uh, just uh, something that they thought cannot, this was part of the, I believe the whole Jewish problem. That we didnt believe that it could happen here. Because I know my father was uh, if wa... if he wanted to he was able to move out to the states, he had family here and uh, in fact, he was supposed to go in 1939, I believe, to the Worlds F... was it the Worlds Fair in New York, I believe. And when uh, I guess the war already interjected and he never went for that visit. And he had a brother in Boston. And he had a sister in Pennsylvania. And then they always asked him to come and he didnt want to leave uh, I mean, he was doing well and just didnt have the foresight of whats gonna to happen I imagine.

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