Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Maroko - February 19 & 26, 1986

Relations with non-Jews

Was there ever any trouble with anti-Semitism that you recall?

Um, I lived in a relatively protected environment uh, going to Jewish elementary school, Jewish high school. And uh, during World War II, I went one year to uh, University of Amsterdam pre-medical studies. Uh, I didn't know what anti-Semitism meant.

Did you have non-Jewish friends?

Um, I did not have any non-Jewish friends. I played with my Jewish schoolmates, who lived in the same street next to us. I do remember one occasion which I don't think I have any proof that it was based upon anti-Semitism, but I was alone there and some uh, Gentile strange uh, boys came along and I don't know what the reason is but they uh, completely caught me off guard and uh, hit me in the solar plexus. I doubled up as happens under those occasions and have never forgotten the experience. But I never connected it with the fact that they were not Jewish. In fact, I doubt, I doubt whether it was done because of--they were, maybe I was perhaps nine or ten. They were about that same age. It could have been, but uh, I don't recall anything like that.

Was there ever any discussion of uh, in your household uh, about anti-Jewish acts or, or um, attitudes in Holland?

Not in Holland, but my father told me about his own experience while still living in Poland.

What had he told you?

Um, I remember that he said that when you walk in the streets in Poland on the sidewalk and a Gentile would pass and if you did not uh, step off the sidewalk uh, he would spit in your face, for example, if not worse. And on another occasion he was on a train ride from somewhere, maybe Pabianice to Warsaw uh, the Gentiles did not let him inside. Uh, he had a little uh, valise with him. He put it on the steps to get on the train uh, with his back to the train itself, the valise being between his heels of his shoes and the train and with both hands helding onto the hand rails, he had to travel all that distance to uh, until the train stopped. And, and they were laughing inside. This was uh, uh, reported as a sign of anti-Semitism.


When my father entered Holland from uh, Czechoslovakia even, which was not as bad I presume as far as anti-Semitism is concerned as Poland. Uh, he said that he could smell the--and, and sense the freedom there. Equality. Because Holland has a uh, history, a tradition of equality because they themselves had an eighty-year long war until 19...until 1648 against Spain. It was religious persecution against the Protestants and especially the royal house of Orange uh, had very strong positive ties with Jews who uh, financed their revolt against the Spanish occupation in the seventeenth century.

So he was, he was happy then that...

He was very happy to come here, yes.

the reassignment. What about the National Socialist Bund?

The NS...


NSB, um.

Do you remember anything about them in the '30s?

I don't remember myself anything about that off hand. They came into play after uh, German uh, invasion and occupation. Before that they were a minority and I myself don't re...have any recollections of any context. Uh, I didn't know uh, what anti-Semitism meant, except for the people who came from Germany, from Poland, from Eastern Europe.

Had you talked to them?

Not to say--I knew there was anti-Semitism, but uh, not for us. For everybody but us.

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