Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Herman Marczak - May 12, 1982


Oh, um, so in other words you didn't feel anti-Semitism in...

Anti-Semitism we feel since we got, since we go out. We knew that we are hated.

By the...

By the Polacks, in particular by the Polacks. We knew that we, a grou...that, that, that we find ourselves in a, in a country which we are not wanted. We knew it. That is a tradition, it's a born in tradition in the Polack to be anti-Semitic.

Since birth.

Since birth. Even today where there is no Jews in Poland, they're anti-Semitic.

There's six thousand, about six thousand Jews in Poland.

And, and those Jews who are in Poland, in mine opinion, they are not Jews. Because a person like me, I didn't even wanted, I, I--when I survived the war it didn't went through for one second through my mind to go back to Poland. I knew there's nothing to go back. What kind of business did they have to settle in Poland after the war? They had, they had all the opportunities to leave.

Well, I know of--today a lot of them are older.

Yeah, today, those, those two thousand people, it's not--it's really not important. But uh, it is important for that much that Polack is still picking on them, that's what it is. They don't mean nothing.

Um, can you uh, describe some of the anti-Semitism that you encountered before the war? Did people smash your windows or did they fight?

The, the--it, it depends in the area in Poland. You say, let's say, in particularly in our area it was more advanced. There was a strong Polish socialist movement. I'm not talking about the Communists because they were illegal. In those organizations, in their press and in their activities, they did not support anti-Semitism. Do you understand?

The, so Polish people that were socialist.

Yeah. There was a lot of Polish people were socialist, communist and all kinds. They did not support anti-Semitism.

I see.

So, in a, in an indus...in, in industrial area like ours. So they have a--we were not afraid to go out on the streets, you know, or to go at night. That is--that was not the case. We, we just knew there was newspapers who were open anti-Semitic, they're all day after day and day after day.

From your--they were from your town?

Yeah, either from the town or from the region, you know, because it was not a press like in the United States that every little town has news...newspapers, but it was there. It was there. You open a paper the first word was anti-Semitic in the headlines, you know, or even without the headline. That, that was, that was the way we grew up and that was the way we knew we couldn't do nothing about it.

Was there...

But, but to beat up a Jew, there was plenty of Jewish people who could beat back at that time.


And the Polacks were afraid.

I see.

So it was not a situation like under the Germans, you know, a hopeless situation. The Polacks could never do what the Germans did. There would be resistance by the Polacks.

In other words, they needed the help of the Germans to accomplish what they were feeling themselves.

Yeah, yeah. They could never achieve that.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn