Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

George Korper - March 26, 2007

Religious Life

Did you have a religious education?

I had a religious education to the, to the, the point that uh, I went to religious classes once a week. You see, in Czechoslovakia, in my time, there were about, I would say, sixty, seventy percent who were, who were without religion. Among those would be uh, Gentiles who were of the Roman Catholic faith mostly, but who didn't, didn't go to church at all and who didn't believe, not openly. Uh, and others who were without, without religion and there was actually in your passport was written: Roman Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, no religion. It was actually in your passport and so uh, it was no crime to have no religion. And, we are talking about uh, uh from 1918 to 1939. Very democratic country. We'll talk later about Sudeten and I'll come back to, to this question. And, to answer your question, yes, I went--my father was the only religious man because of--in, in, in--you want his father's-- my grandfathers instilled--a, a man who kept all the holidays and who was openly religious. So, my fathers went--my father went to shul every Friday night and we kept all the high holidays, but he didn't insist that I go with him on the Friday.

Did he have a beard and...

No, no, no, no, there was no Yiddish spoken, you see. The, the, the Jews in Bohemia Moravia, and I refer to Bohemia Moravia as the Czech land. There is Bohemia, Moravia, Slo...uh, uh, Silesia, which was really a part of, of, of Moravia so don't have to talk about it. Then, there is Slovakia. Hundred-twenty-five thousand Jews in the Czech lands. 125,000 in Slovakia, which was all these 300 years when the Habsburg's took uh, took this part of the world was more under the influence of Hungary then we were under the influence of, of, of Austria and Germany. So, that was Slovakia and they had 125,000 Jews where still probably half would be speaking Yiddish and the other half would be speaking Slovak and Hungarian or just Hungarian.

What did you speak at home?

We spoke in old Czech and so did my father, so did my mother, and so did their parents. So, I am, I am third generation of the mother tongue Czech Jews and probably more than that.

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