Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Klaiman - May 4, 1982

Attitude Towards Poles

Do you have a lot of resentment towards the Polish people today?

If you want to tell the truth, I hate more the Polish people than the Germans.

Mm-hm, why is that? I hear that--it's a familiar comment to most people.

When I was a little boy, five years old, and I could remember that I couldn't walk on the street because they recognize me, the Ger...the Polish people recognized on my nose and my eyes that I am a Jew. And they start already throwing stones when, when I was five years old. That's mean I knew the anti-Semitism already when I was five years old. And was very...

Do you remember that already in 1930 you remember the people being already quite anti-Semitic?

That's right. In 1930, 1931, '32, '35 that the anti-Semitism was in Poland. If wouldn't be Hitler would become a Hitler in Poland. In 1939 or 1945 it would be a Hitler in Poland anyway, because we couldn't already cut the meat--kosher meat. They said that it's not again to cut the Jewish meat a few people was eating and then others people was very, very bad in Poland, in Poland.

What other personal experiences do you remember, you know, as a young child? What else do you remember them doing to you or to your family?

To my family they uh, you talking about the Polish people?


The Polish people of anti-Semitism was doing--I remember a Pesach one was there Pesach they made a pogrom. And my father was in a--by my aunt, he was two blocks away. He couldn't--he was--he couldn't come home because they would kill him over there. Just to walk the two, the two blocks he had to come with two policemen. And where I was living was a little--was a Polish uh, apartment. Let's say it's like a, how you say? It was very bad. You couldn't uh, you couldn't play on the street with the Polish people. You--they always hated, they always throwing stone and u, that's why I said it, uh...

But you went to a public school, and then you said...

Cheder, cheder. To public school you went 'til one o'clock and then you went to the afternoon, at three o'clock you went to cheder.

In school, what kind of discrimination did you face in school?

It was not so much this school because it was eighty percent, ninety percent was Jewish people in the same school you went. So I didn't feel. A lot of people was feeling anti-Semitism because I, I talked to my friends, and they was a little bit older--two or three years older. They went to a littler higher school and they were a second-class citizen. Worse than second-class citizen, they couldn't do nothing. And the main thing what the, what the--this, what I still remember--in 1939 when there are a couple months when the war--before the war start the Polish people were so good to the Jewish people because the German was going against the Polish people. And after that, when the German came in, there was already against the Jewish people. If the German couldn't recognize a Jewish person, the Polish people recognized and they was calling ahead. And they led them one, two. three to say "A Jude.' A "Jude,' in, in English--in German is a Jude. And they led 'em, one, two, three to say this word, and they always helped the German to find the Jewish people. That was mine.

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