Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Nathan Nothman - November 30, 1982

Life Before the War

Can you tell me what your house was like in Kraków?

In Kraków we have a kitchen and a big--a large kitchen, and we have one large room and a balcony. One large room and a balcony. We have water in it, we have bathtub in it. What, my father was a plumber so he brought everything in it. And we have a heater, but not on gas, on coal. And we're supposed to make a fire, we're supposed to make a fire in that tank. Mount the tank, I remember a long time ago supposed to have a paper and make sure you light it, and--so it's just...

Do you remember what a Friday night was like?


Can you tell us?

Friday night, my mother closed the store early--an hour early we closed everything. We have all this good food--we had challah, fish, goose. And goose in Europe is not like goose here. Or we had grouse, and we have ??? or we have noodles. I mean, it was a meal. My father made a kiddush and my mother, you know, served it and my sister, she's alive here. And I have a brother in Israel who's alive. And it was a beautiful thing, I remember. Nice beautiful thing.

What type of store did your mother have?

Uh, all kinds. I mean, you name it. Fruit. I mean, nice, nice food stuff store. Cherries, plums, apples ??? you know, good stuff, good stuff...

In your neighborhood, how many uh, synagogues were in your area do you recall?

I remember one synagogue, yes. Two synagogues. And then I have a--synagogue was across the street maybe 200 feet, across the street was synagogue--very old synagogue. And another synagogue I know it was very old, very, very old. Maybe before my life. But I remember when the Nazi came to Poland, Kraków, they took the iron out from the synagogue. That synagogue had a iron gate, iron so nobody can climb over. They took everything apart. They took a torch and they just took everything right out. They just--everything just took--just like you undress somebody completely naked. Everything. The doors, the, the--all iron. They took all the iron out from the, from the bolts. I stood and watched.

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