Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Ruth Kent - May 4, 1982

Entertainment in Łódź

Um, let, let me go back for a second to the, to life in Łódź your mother you had said had season tickets to the...



My mother had theatre tickets and she always had the same seats. She knew uh, what were these uh, actors uh, um, Menach, uh, Sholem Aleich... no um, oh, I just, just slipped my mind. I just read about all these uh, Schu... ??? She knew all these actors and I remember she had such a lovely voice she always came from an opera she would sing it and we were sort of introduced by that I remember I knew a lot about operas.

Did you go?


Did you ever go?

I don't remember if we went or not. I don't remember, I was very young at the time, seven, eight, it, it was sort of a luxury I guess and, uh...

Did you have records, record player, radio?

Uh, I, we had a radio which was uh, Telefunkin. We had a radio which was a great uh, way of entertainment. We had--we also had a telephone which was unusual in Poland in Łódź. Um, and uh, the radio was great because we had all the news and this radio sort of brought news from all over the world. I don't know what sort of radio it was. And although we didn't have a very large home but we had uh, my, my cousin she had her own room and I was sort of always envious of her because I was the only girl. But my mother gave her the room and, and I would say mother I mean after all why shouldn't I have the room and she says Ruth she said in fact in Jewish and I did not speak Jewish to my parents. My little brother and I we spoke Polish to our parents my older brother spoke Yiddish to our parents. So when I said, "Now why don't I have a room I'm your daughter I'm the only child?" she says uh, in Yiddish she said uh, ??? which means translated is you should never feel the way an orphan feels. That's what she tried to tell me because my cousin was sort of an orphan she wanted to make up to her. She had the very beautiful clothes also made for her and she had her room. The radio was in her room mind you and the telephone I think was in her room and she had a beautiful closet, she had her own bed incidentally. And the day, the night that she would let me share the bed with her was heaven for me because otherwise I either slept with my parents in a double bed or probably with the boys I was always one of the boys anyhow.

Did, what did you do for entertainment? Were there movies in Łódź or...

Yes, we would go to movies and as I said uh, as I said Panna would take us to the park we had some lovely parks went to walk a little bit. We would go to the movies but this would be really uh, feasible mostly on Saturdays. So we, my father was uh, getting a little bit sick. And I remember one time he took us to the movies and he took a streetcar with us and he said never to divulge the fact that he was riding on Shabbos. But my father uh, has been sick at the time he was sick like for fifteen years he had very high blood pressure and he smoked an awful lot. I remember he would sit in the bakery when I was leaving for school I would come down and kiss my mother's hand uh, rarely her cheeks, always her hand and my father would sit on a pail turned upside down and smoke cigarettes one after the other. Uh, so he was a very sick man we--my mother had taken him to many different doctors and one doctor had told my mother that uh, uh, he was so young, he was only thirty-seven, thirty-eight, thirty-seven when he died he was about thirty-eight, that he may die on a street because of his high blood pressure at this time. I don't think they had the cure and consequently my father died uh, the last day of Passover in 1938. And my mother was left with six children to take care of and uh, the whole household and the rest of the people who were sharing it. And the taxes were very, very high my mother used to complain all the time how high they--she's being taxed for the bakery. And um, many times uh, she had to extend credit to people. And I would go, she would send me although I was young but she could always trust me. She would send me uh, to these different stores to--for collection and I would take the money and hide it in my shoe or in my sock because there was always the fear that a gentile Christian child would uh, come to me or attack me or throw stones at me or just plain scare me and I'd have to run across the street. And even though um, my family was--my father was blond had blue eyes, my mother was dark, my brothers had blue eyes and blond hair and I was the only one with blond hair but dark eyes. And um, they didn't really bother us too much uh, we had some friends that we made with the uh, Gentile children, only from the neighborhood but the minute we left our neighborhood it was a different story. They would throw stones.

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