Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Maroko - February 19 & 26, 1986

Realization of Parent's Death

Had you thought about them while you were hiding.

Everyday, everyday. I prayed for them everyday.

Did you really believe they were going to survive?

They're going to survive? I hope. The day I st...stayed in bed, I didn't eat at all that day. I was too depressed. And I start again and I come out and I will never in the process of getting over the loss of them. Long lifetime is not enough to get over this, which was not made any easier for myself. The information from the Red Cross at least where my father was ??? and I remember I was already in 1946 in Palestine, which I went to in June '46, illegal Aliyah. Uh, I was still orthodox and it was the High Holidays in Sukkos, I was in a little synagogue in Tel Aviv and all the people who did not ???

[interruption in interview]

And it was really later that I in my heart had to make the painful decision, yes, I have to consider them as dead. It was, I don't know how long, maybe years after the war. Maybe two years or more even that I had already made that decision.

Did you say Kaddish then?

Um, by that time I was already uh, getting so unorthodox that I didn't believe in that anymore. And um, I went, after the war was over, after a certain number of days I stayed with the farmer, there was some bandying about that I would find some work and so I had to stay in that area. Uh, I couldn't even make a decision, yes or no. I felt completely ambivalent about anything at that time. Um, but I did go, I found a way to get to Amsterdam. And I came to uh, my parents' house and there were people living there, the same as uh, on the first--the lowest two floors uh, those two ladies had uh, lived in our place, other people had been evacuated from a place that was inundated. And they told me that when they came in they found uh, like shards, pieces of cantorial records that had been thrown down and were considered of no value. But they gave me uh, part of a tallit uh, of my father, the silver embroidered--I don't know what the technical term for it would be, and I don't know where it is now. But uh, also, and they give up ??? on the parchment, on leather. And uh, I gave this to my uncle here who is still orthodox and he has that. Very beautiful, made in, hand, obviously handwritten in Poland. These were the only things that were left there. All the other things had been stolen from the hiding place between the floors. The--those that uh, got hold of it, they had much easier than, than we had because we had to go on ladders and reach the, the spot from below between the two floors. They just opened the floor on, on the floor above and, and it was uh, easily uh, accessible from there. Uh, aft... Do you want to know anything about after the war?


I was adopted by a um, in quotes, adopted, by a Jewish family from Poland who said that they knew my parents. I, I didn't know them. And, uh...

From Tarnow?

They were from Poland.


I don't know where from Poland, but uh, they had lived before the war in Amsterdam, they had known my father. I was there alone. I went there to the Polishe shul, the Polish synagogue there where they went. And uh, uh, they offered me to stay with them. Uh, I became like a member of their family. Uh, during Yom Kippur of 1946 uh, I found--or before it--I found out that there were Jewish Canadian soldiers who needed someone to serve as a cantor for the high holidays and it was already after Yom...Rosh Hashanah, but there needed to be someone for Yom Kippur. There were two chaplains, one was from Canada the other was from New York. And uh, I contacted them and they made me uh, sing and uh, they asked me how much do you want. I mentioned uh, off the top of my head, a high figure six hundred guilders and they on the spot agreed to it. So I uh, led the service as a cantor for the Jewish Canadian soldiers in the world famous Concert Gabow, which is the concert hall for the famous concert. And I, I also blew the Shofar, which I never learned before. I learned it in a jiffy. And uh, one of the fringe benefits was uh, before uh, uh, leading the service, I could sleep in the quarters which were part of the, of the Jewish chaplaincy or whatever. And I got their food before Yom Kippur and after Yom Kippur. I may have got their food too because I was not going to uh, ride--drive there or ride there from where I lived. So we stayed there over night on Yom Kippur. And um, I remember during the service that I saw some flashlights. And, I'm going really way off on a tangent.

All right.

In 1979 I met a lady in Jerusalem in the Plaza hotel whose husband was one of those two chaplains. And she got hold of the pictures and I have them here, where it, it's showing that I was, as a cantor. Though it was many years later.

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