Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Kalmas - May 25, 1982

Religion in the Ghetto

Was there a--was there a school in the ghetto?


How about a synagogue?

No. Well, we--synagogue--a Jew is a Jew, you know that.

Yeah okay.

A Jew's a Jew and, uh.

You made a minyan?

We made--oh yes, there was more than a minyan. Oh yes. We had synagogue.

So there was an active...

Yes, yes.

...there was an active Jewish life going on.

If--now here's the, here's the point on--if they would leave us without tossing us around from one place to the next one place--even before the ghetto they made people--they gave 'em an hour to leave the place--move somewheres else. We need this for a German, you know. So this is a remission. But if they wouldn't put down the final axe to Auschwitz, we would have survived one ghetto, we would survive two ghettos or even three ghettos. Because the Polish people, I would say they're probably the strongest that I've--I ever encountered. And I been with people from, from s...twelve nations in camp. And they fell like flies. Per capita, Polish people are more set to survive.

Did you ever see any statistics on that?

No, I don't have statistics, but uh, we have from our shtetl--there's quite a few people survived. Even you lost a whole family, but one from--of, of the family survived. And I was at a, at a wedding in Philadelphia for my cousin. And, of course, there were others from the same shtetl and we were talking about it. And were--we were saying that from our city--from our shtetl--per capita we have more people survived than from any other place--from our shtetl.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn