Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Herman Marczak - May 12, 1982

Religious Life

Can you tell--were you an Orthodox family?

Practically, I would say yes. Not, not, not all the family was strictly Orthodox, but even the people were not Orthodox, we were traditional, very much traditional.

Did the women wear sheitel?

Yeah, most of, the most of them.

Did you mother wear sheitel?

Yeah, the most of them.

And um, were--can you tell me something about the synagogues that you remember in your town?

You see there was--that, that was an organized community, Zduńska Wola--they're very organized. And the most of the people belonged to the, to the extreme Orthodox movements. That was the situation practically in the whole area. But a Jewish community in Poland was a little different organized than it is here in the United States because it--first of all, when Poland became an independent country, they had to guarantee autonomy to the Jewish population. Autonomy meant, at that time, that the Jewish community was operating under the protection of the law.


And they had to have--they have to have a synagogue, we have to have a cemetery, we have to have all kinds of institutions, this is practically to the whole population. So, and then was organized in a region like people will belong to different sects. You will have different--not rabbis like we say--but we have, like the Lubavitcher, you know...


...and those kind of movements was a very, very large part of the population, maybe up to fifty, sixty percent...

Were Chasidim?

...were Chasidim, yeah. And when it was elections they always wanted the most seats in, in, in community council, you know, and things like that. And that existed for hundred, as far as anybody can remember, as far as is written...


...that was the situation.

Were there many synagogues in this town?

There was a lot of, like you call it, like we had those congregations here, a lot of congregations. But as far as the whole community is concerned there is just one big synagogue.

One main synagogue.

One main synagogue with the rabbi who was paid from the city. And it was very, very organized.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn