Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Herman Marczak - May 12, 1982

Life in Zduńska Wola Before the War

Were there ever any, was there ever any destruction to the synagogues or the cemeteries?

Not, not in, not in, not in my town.



Before 1939.

No. Yeah it was strong. We had one official anti-Semitic party. And they wanted to have a march. And they, they got a very hard time to, to accomplish it because either through bribe or to some other things the Jewish people tried to prevent it. And if, and if they, and if they started to beat Jews, you know, so they got beaten back. There was plenty uh, uh, uh, young people in the Jewish population who was ready to go out and fight with fists or with sticks over there or so...

Do you remember that happening?

It happened once in Zduńska Wola--a fight. They had a march and we started to run. In ever Polish city there was a square, there was a, a market place which consisted of a, of a--that was the center of the town, you know. Not, you got--you very seldom see it here in Untied States--you got this little deal with one street and all four, four sides was--how's this in the middle was an empty, you know. The, the farmers came...


...and they marched around there and started to, to, to beat or harassing some Jewish people.

What year was this?

That was in 1938 or something like that. And then they, they got, they got beaten up, a few of them pretty good.

They came in at that time with the idea of uh, creating trouble for the Jews.

Oh they had it idea--they had that idea all the time. Like I'm telling you, they even have it today when there's no Jews in Poland. Because it's very difficult to understand their psyche.

Yeah. Well, um, maybe we can talk something about what happened in 1939. You were about nineteen years old.

Yeah, in 1939, now we knew that--we the young people, we were not old enough to comprehend what is coming but there was people a little older than us, you know, who were very frightened. And they were trying to, to escape, to, emigrate, but everything was closed. There was very, very little opportunity for Jews to emigrate from Poland. So...

Um, since you're talking about emigration, I just wondered if I couldn't for just a minute talk about the Zionist Movement.

The Zionist Movement--they had, they had Hakh-sharah and it was compe...there was not many, many uh, opportunities available. But there was a lot of people were ready to go at that--there were a lot of went to Hakh-sharah for a year or two in order, order to qualify to get a permit to Is...into Palestine. And some of them went at that time, whoever qualified, whoever belonged for a long time to the organization...

Were able to emigrate.

They worked very hard on it. So some young people went between, between those years since I can remember.


Once in awhile, every month or every two month or so, somebody...

You recall people going. In other words you could have gone if you would have wanted to.

Not--I couldn't have accomplished it at mine age, no. You had to be at that time a little--a few years older to, to, to go through all this.

Oh, to qualify.

All of the preparations and all those things.

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