Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nathan Nothman - November 30, 1982

Life Before the War II

Do you remember anything--was there a Yiddish theater in Kraków?

Yes, my mother used to theater. She went there. I went there once or twice, very young. I mean, to me uh, come to the name, you know, it's a famous--and I was there. It was not a theater like you go into a movie here. It was in a place where everything were band--a lot people were there. I don't know how much they paid for it. I was there twice. I remember the play, but it's, it's a way, way back. ??? uh, it will come to me. I don't remember that but uh, it's a long time ago.

What about films?

We had, oh, a lot of movies. Oh, a lot of movies. I remember there was a ticket even--54 groszy--that means a dollar was 52--just like a ten cents, almost ten cents. Theater, no, but movie, yes. Lot of movies, there were a lot of movies in Kraków. Kraków was a modern city, beautiful city, I remember. Kraków was nice. I like it here.

In your neighborhood uh, how many, what percentage would you guess was, was Jewish and what percentage Christian...

In my neighborhood...

...were you living in Kraków?

...in my neighborhood I would say 96 percent, 97 percent Jewish.


I mean we--I'm taking a mile or a mile and a half, around me. I wouldn't say all,yes, yes, yes, definitely. All of the village were Jews, even more. There was much more there. But uh, I would even say oh, two miles. Oh yes, ninety-six, ninety-five, ninety-three, approximately. It be ninety in uh, ninety-five Jewish. That's the place where the Jews were brought by ???--he was a king. And he--and uh, Jews autonomous. Now we're talking way before, so he brought the Jews to that--to the place and that's where they occupied the place. And there was a lot of Jewish buildings and very, very little faction. Gentile there, Gentile there, Gentile there. But there was very little.

What plans did you have for your own future before the war?

I didn't have no plan. That time I was still too young. Go to school, learn. It was difficult because, you know, it was not easy in 1939. The war, war started, there was no more school. Learned.

Did you have a bar mitzvah?

Bar mitzvah, 1939. Yes, I had bar mitzvah. I, I remember that yes, I had bar mitzvah. But not in synagogue, in a private house. Because that time, that time--it was either '38, '39. We had it in a private house. But in the building they want to invite, he got one, two, three rooms--large rooms, so we invite people there, and I do have bar mitzvah, yeah, I remember.

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