Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nathan Nothman - November 30, 1982

Life During Occupation

Um, be...excuse me--before you went to the ghetto uh, did you continue going to school once the Germans came in? Did they have school?

No, no, '39 that's it. Thirty-eight was--'39 there was no school. That's it. They didn't allow. It was already--they knew that the war would start. And they didn't allow--there was too much commotion there and, and there was no school.

What about the uh, synagogues? Was worship still around?

No, no, nobody went there to the synagogue to worship because this was the problem there. And with the end of time because 1939 September--in 1940, in the springtime we went to the ghetto. In ghetto there were some, some places, but not, not synagogue--private, private places, you know, like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur worship places but not official. Just...

What about food, was that rationed?

We get some rations, but with that bread what they gave us, you can, you can build a building. You can--it would stick together. I mean, what they give us I remember, half a bread or quarter bread. I mean, it's a clay. It was a clay and a jam. They didn't give us no...I mean, you couldn't live on it, you couldn't live on it. So what you done, you have something of yourself, like a jacket. I mean uh, something when you--from your shoes or clothes when you went outside, if you work outside for the Germans. So you, you trade money. Some have a lot of money there, some, some didn't have, but, uh, you sell everything that you have just, just to survive. A watch, a, a ring uh, uh, from that uh, you know. Anything which you could sell, so you, you could sell and bring something so you can eat. And you can even sell in, in ghetto. And the, the people who bought it, let me say, "Oh I need this for, for a friend, do you have something?" So they give them the money, but you can buy, you can buy in ghetto, you can buy for money most everything--just money you needed. And that's was the pressure point. Some do have and some didn't have.

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