Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Stefa (Sarah) Sprecher Kupfer - July 24, 1987


Did it affect your life after in what you would think about when you were doing certain things that didn't seem to be related to the Holocaust, you said every time you peel a potato, for example, you think of Mrs. Orlewska's soup?

When my children were very young, my husband worked in a factory at that time, and if he didn't come in time, or if he was delayed, for whatever, I was always thinking, oh my God, I'm going to be like Momma, I'm going to be left with three young children. Yesterday is going to repeat itself. It always followed me. There are things that will trigger all kinds of memories, um, smell of a cigarette. When we were in the basement, there was a room above the basement, which was occupied by a young couple, and in the summer time, they would be out and obviously, they smoked, and the smell of the smoke would come into the basement, and believe it or not, it smelled so nice, it was a different smell, it wasn't the basement kind, it just drifted in, or they had music playing, and I thought oh my God, how nice it is to be outside. You know, when I bake cookies in the winter time, I open the windows sometimes. At one time, I left the basement to go to a neighbor of my aunts, we knew her name, because Momma had a big piece of jewelry that she wanted to sell and Mr. Pietrzycki wasn't able to do it, so and one time, my aunt told my mother, if you really need some contact, not for hiding, but if you need to sell, you can trust this man, he was an old neighbor from the other house. So Momma send me there and it was a winter day, it was so cold, I don't remember how many kilometers I walked, but I came into this wonderfully warm kitchen and she was baking cookies, and she was in short sleeves and this smell was this side of heaven and the windows were open and it was hot in the kitchen. I was frozen stiff. And I said to myself, my God, this is the epitome of luxury, well being of richness, of freedom, of not being hungry. Baking cookies by an open window in the middle of the winter. So this will trigger. Recently I met with a Polish friend and we were talking about cherries and there is a special expression when you express the pit from the cherry and she said she was doing this and I said, my God I didn't hear the expression in fifteen years, when my mother used to do it. There is a special instrument that you poke a hole and the cherry pit comes out and then you marinade it or make marmalade or wine, or whatever or however you use it. And this triggered it and I went on to say, you know my mother used to make jelly preserves, jelly preserves and vischneyk, and stuff like that. You know, at the drop of...you can't think like this, but there is always something that triggers, it's always coming back...

Is there anything you want to add to this, any final comments maybe about Mrs. Orlewska, Mr. Wierzbicki or the experience in general?

For Mrs. Orlewska, this is a monument. We were never able to show her what it meant to us what she did, it was impossible. It was her request, not to come and see her or be in touch by mail. So this is for her, so people should know that not everybody was a beast. That there were people like Mrs. Orlewska. She should never be forgotten. What happened to the Jews has to be remembered. Wierzbicki, he's a nice guy...I'm in touch with him, I send him coffee, I'm being invited to his house, maybe one day, if I have enough courage I will go to Poland again, I don't know. I hope children and grandchildren and future generations should never have to experience this, and it should never be forgotten.

Thank you.

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