Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Freda Magnus - July 22, 1982

Anti-Semitism Before the War

Let's just go back just a little bit. How did you first hear about the war when it , when it began?

What you mean? We had, we had...

Well, did you hear about it in school?


Newspapers? Radios?

No, newspapers, radios, everything. We had a radio too. Newspapers and beside that everybody wasn't there. From the year 1933 when Hitler came to regime, you know, so start to get very bad in Poland, you know. Anti-Semitism start getting terrible, don't buy by the Jews and, you know, all the--and the sections ??? the Gentiles from men went home and as a matter of fact my brother's brother-in-law got killed--he got stabbed in the back.

This is before the war.

Before the war--sure, before the war, yeah, by the Polish people. He went home from the shul and a goy, you know, a young sheygets took a knife and tore it to him right in the back and he did have just time to walk into the house and fell on the step there. And he was very brilliant guy, also very religious, yeah, very brilliant guy stabbed on the way from the shul. And that starts, you know, very uneven life start to be in Poland for the Jewish people. And then when the war broke out we knew when they went, you know, wherever they talk about you because nobody and were English people promised, you know, that they will fight for the Polish people and they shouldn't give up and they went to war with them and took one day and they were in. And this what I was telling before but the next the few days they were knocking in our house.

Before the war--was this--this was your brother that was stabbed?

No, no my brother's brother-in-law.

Brother's broth...

Brother-in-law, yeah.

Was the man who did it ever brought to trial? Did you call the police?

No, never, never. We didn't--they didn't even caught him.

Were there any...

They each one knife from the back and that's all.

Was there--did you, did you experience a lot of anti-Semitism in Poland?

You see, I didn't from like I said 'til 1933 I didn't experience anti-Semitism because I live in a Jewish section, we had a kosher business mostly by the Jewish people and I live with only Jews around me, you know, just, just the janitor was a Gentile, so only the janitor had respect for me, you know? We paid him, we give him, you know it is.

The janitor for what?

For the house.

For the house.

For the building.

For the building, for the factory.

No, no for the building.

For the building.

Yeah, for the factory not too much but for the building where we lived. So I didn't really--I never got in contact too much with Gentile people because our business was only with Jewish people. They came in a few Gentile, you know, to buy what they liked but mostly Jewish people so I didn't feel but after 1933 when we had already he got killed and we have, you know, a lot of killing and stabbing and yelling, "Jews to Palestine!" you know, now they don't let us into Palestine. But when we were there they were yelling, "Jews to Palestine!"


That's the, that's the story. Now they say Palestine is not ours but they said to us, "Jews to Palestine."

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