Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sonia Nothman - January 4, 1983

Chmielnik after German Occupation

I wanna go back a little bit um, back to um, when you were home, before you were taken out of your village. Um, what happened to the schools, they all closed right away?


They were closed.

Of course, people were afraid to go. Of course. It was a very nice Jewish community. Very nice. Nice and friendly. I even write to, to, people to Israel now from my hometown.

Did you need a Kennkarte card to get food and to work?

Yeah, yeah Oh work, they didn't let us. There wasn't a working town-- business. Everybody had a store, business mostly. But us, we didn't have a trade. My brother came here he didn't have a trade. He was business, everything business.

Um, what happened to the synagogues when the Germans came in? Did they let you worship anymore?

No. Oh when they...They caught people they were--my father have a beard, not peyes, just a beard. Cut off. They didn't let them...They see someone with those locks they caught them, they beat them. Once uh, when the Germans came in, my father went uh, the city, I don't know he went praying. He came home and on the way home two Germans hold him and tried to cut his beard. And they hit him. And somebody--I was in the house with my brother, somebody came in and said they caught my father. And we all ran out and tried to protect my father. They hit us. We told my father, let them shave off the beard. Oh it was unbelievable.

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