Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

John Mandel - May 26, 1981


Can you give me an idea of how large your community was?

Yes. Uh, the city itself was approximately 32,000 people and it, it was the largest uh, city in our particular uh, particular um, uh, province. And uh, it was the major market uh, area for, for the farmers. They would bring in all their produce and, and uh, half of the population uh, just about equaled what, half the population was Jewish.

Do you know how many synagogues there were in town?

Well we had three major rabbis. Uh, there was the uh, Munkacs Rabbi was very famous. There was a rabbi called the Belzer Rav and he had uh, he was originally from Poland, from, from Belzer and he had quite a following. And there was also a rabbi called uh, Spinker Rav, who was uh, also from Eastern Europe. Other than that there was um, there was a more conservative uh, element there that um, belonged to a um, shul, rather than, than a--what do you call it--it was, it was--they had, in other words they had a cantor where, where the other places would have people chanting the services, so it was, it was more modern. And also there was a element uh, the Zionist element who uh, which was a branch of the Mizrachi. And uh, they had, they had a congregation. And my father belonged to that uh, particular group.

Do you know how many schools were in the area?

Well, we had a number of schools. We had uh, public schools, we had um, Czech schools, we had Russian schools because our particular area was predominantly uh, of uh, Ukraine people. And uh, we also had a Hebrew uh, uh, school. Now when I say Hebrew school I don't mean the sense the way we understand it here. It was a Hebrew school the way they would teach it in Israel. It was actually a public school taught in the Hebrew language, rather--it was not a religious school. Can you, can you understand that?

Like a Yeshiva? Or, or...

No, no, it was not like a Yeshiva.

Like Akiva?

No, it was not like Akiva. It was just like any public high school except it was taught in the Hebrew language.

Oh, okay.

And uh, I went to school there.

It's like Hillel.



No, Hillel is Hebrew. Hi...Hillel is, is a uh, is a religious oriented school. This was--had nothing to do with religion.

Just that it...

This was, this was the same as having--going to public school in Israel.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn