Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Maroko - February 19 & 26, 1986


They knew your father.

Yeah, right.

Did he sing there?

No, not singing. Uh, he would sing in the other synagogues uh, rarely on special occasions. I think maybe once a year or so.

But always in yours, of course.

Pardon? Always?

Always in yours in the Great Synagogue, he'd...

No, no. He would once a year he might go to some of the other synagogues. I don't know what was the idea behind it, the rotation or showing of flag almost already. But I remember that uh, it happened, but very seldom.

Let me...

And there was a visit by the royalty. Uh, he was the one who was singing in front of them. There are pictures of it uh, probably still available. He had sang for the mother of Queen Wilhelmina uh, the presence of Queen Wilhelmina. Um, when Princess Juliana who is now the mother of the, the pri...existing queen was there, when she was still a teenager, he was singing there. There was even a rumor that I heard that this Princess Juliana, being a teenager, fell in love with my father. I don't know whether it's true or not.

Did he have a very strong and beautiful voice then?

Um, I would consider him as one of the top five or ten or whatever in the world. Um, as far as his quality as a tenor, he may not have been able to reach the high C as easily as uh, Rosenblatt or uh, some of the other world famous ones. But uh, as far as rendering the intent, the content of the prayers uh, I think, and maybe I'm biased, he had no peer.

Let me just step back for second. Um, your parents um, created this atmosphere in the house obviously, of warmth and security. What do you remember about, about them? Had you--did you have discussions with them as you were getting older that you remember, before the occupation as well as uh, during it? What are their outstanding characteristics?

My mother, I remember uh, being in the kitchen. She--we had before the war uh, maids. In fact uh, coming from Germany at times, because this was quite common in Holland. Um, my father I remember at home uh, studying the ??? or Mishna or, or whatever. And he at times he taught us. I, myself, I also had private lessons in addition to um, the Jewish curriculum as part of the Jewish high school. I also had private lessons by a rebbe, which was, consisted of Mishna and Gemara. I must admit uh, whether it was his quality as a rebbe or whether I was to be blamed, I always felt a hypnotic effect of it. I had a hard time keeping my eyes open. I remember that definitely.

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