Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Maroko - February 19 & 26, 1986


Um, the uh, parochial school you went to, you spoke what language?

Dutch was the official language.

And at home you spoke Dutch?

At home we spoke... My early childhood I couldn't say for sure. But later on we talked Dutch. Our parents wanted us to talk Dutch because they wanted to become Dutch citizens, which they never uh, reached because World War II intervened. Uh, they spoke some Yiddish. There were the years before Hitler, I assume, that on Shabbos my father insisted that we talk German, because that was then the high class international language in Europe. "Deutsch sprechen." I remember this, that he would say, if we were uh, if we deviated and started to talk in Dutch, he said, "Deutsch sprechen," on, on Shabbos. It, it was like perhaps the uh, status of the French language still now in international diplomacy and so on. But after uh, the start of Hitler and uh, the Nazi party in Germany, I think uh, he changed his mind about that. Uh, my father's--when they wanted to--my, my parents, when they wanted to communicate about something and us not understand they spoke Polish, which we did not understand, we children.

And they were, they were originally born in Poland.

They were born in Poland, yes.

So they--were they Polish citizens?

My father and, my parents came as Polish citizens.

And you were also a Polish citizen.

I was a Polish citizen by birth and I stayed a Polish citizen until... My father, probably in the process of wanting to become a Dutch citizen, he surrendered his P...Polish uh, passport and so on. So after the war I found myself as uh, stateless, without nationality for some time.

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