Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sonia Nothman - January 4, 1983

Jewish Community in Chmielnik

Can you tell me about your community before the war? How large was the Jewish community?

It was most a Jewish community. Mostly Jews. I don't remember you know I was a young--I don't remember how many, I forgot. I should have asked my brother, he, he remembers. But it was a big Jewish community, big. We lived a few Polish people too. Very few, very few. Mostly Jewish community. ??? Polish people.

How was the relationship between the, the um, Christian Poles and Jewish community? Was it...

The neighbors were good, but not too. And it came like during the war, nothing. They wouldn't help you, nothing. I have friends there. I went with them to school every single day. And they didn't--the concentration camp when they took us--I know because people told us--they took everything from our house. So we send a Polish guy--not just us, the whole, everybody from the camp. And we paid him, we give him the addresses. We didn't see the smoke. Didn't want to ???. I know they took everything.

Was there much anti-Semitism in the town before the war?

It was, yeah. I didn't understand so much, but it was, yeah, yeah, it was.

Can you recall hearing about anything? S: I can recall one thing. Uh, just before the war, there was a guy; he didn't live too far from us. And he saw make a nice living from this business and he went and open a store against and he was standing in front and told all the farmers mostly--in Poland they were Poles, not Jews. And he told them not to go to Jewish people, to sell to them--to him. Oh many incidence, many incidences. But by us is a small city and they're most Jews, so.

Do you have any idea how, how many people in the city survived the war? I mean, how...The city you said was mainly Jewish?

Yeah. Oh, to count on the thing. I don't think so fifty people survived. A few live in Toronto. Hey, they went with me school, yeah. And a few are in Israel. Maybe fifty-five, I don't even know.

You haven't told me about how many, do you have any idea?

A hundred thousand. All the parents, our parents are gone. Grandparents and young kids. And our little sister and my brother.

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