Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Rene Lichtman - August 13, 1998

Yizkor Book

Well, when did she, when did she find or receive the, the memorial book, from Lubartow ?

Uh, she belonged, um, well my, my cousins, because my cousins are in that book, as, at the very end, there's like a picture of the survivors...

Where was it?

...who put together the book. She's not in the picture, but um, you know, she kept in touch to the point, to the degree of when she came to New York, she belonged to the Lubartower Society on, in New York.

She belonged to a chapter...

I suppose. And you know, they have a cemetery on Staten Island where she's buried. And there's a plot for me there.

Now, did she sit down with you ever with the book and say...

I'm the one. I'm the one, every time we would come to visit with my--with the grandchildren.

It was the grandchildren that stimulated this, do you think?


Did they ask to see it?

No, me.

You, you asked...


...on their behalf?

Right. I would say, "Ma," I said, "can you, can you show the kids the book, the Yizkor book?" And um, and, and [pause] so because, [pause] and I wanted my kids to have a sense of where they came from. And um, when Josh was born, I thought it was kind of a miracle, because uh, it meant that the family was becoming--starting again. And um, so I wanted my kids to have a sense of where they came from, in terms of Poland, in terms of uncles and aunts, some normalcy, which they have on their mother's side, my wife. So I would say, "Ma, why don't you tell the kids about your brothers and, and people in this book?" And I did it every year. We went, we went there and we'd go, we go there between Christmas and New Year's we'd go to New York to be with her and of course to take advantage of all the cultural activities. Kathy would take dance lessons and I would go to all the art museums and we had a great time. And I would always say, "Ma, please, take the book and tell us what, it's written in Yiddish." you know, "Tell the kids some stories about our people, so they have some kind of Jewish identity and they know about the Holocaust." Uh, so she would turn the pages and when she got to some of the pages about her, her brothers uh, she'd start cracking up, you know. She, she couldn't continue. She would get so nervous, you know. And I think those nerves of hers um, I think were a result of the war. I think she was a very high strung, very nervous, very emotional person. Um, so she could never finish. So we never had a sense of, you know, I asked her once, well, "What was, what was Lubartow like? What were relationships between uh, you know, Christians and the Jews? And what uh, did you go to school?" And then, "tell us about uncles and, and what kind of town was it?" And uh, and she couldn't talk about any of that. She just couldn't talk about it. And to this day, I have, you know, I have no, no, very little concept of uh, and I wanted, I wanted for the sake of the kids and for me too, I wanted her to say things. You know, she--I, I don't know.

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