Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Samuel Offen - December 27, 1981


Um, let me ask you a couple of things. You said that uh, you had non, non-Jewish friends in school and you went to a Polish school and that there were discussions about anti-Semitism uh, um, political discussions about anti-Semitism. Did you ever experience any anti-Semitism in schools or uh, or uh, after school, when you got out of school in the '30s?

Uh, fortunately, personally, I don't recall suffering, personally, any anti-Semitism. Although I have seen it happen around me all the time. I wasn't blind to the fact that anti-Semitism was, was there. In fact in some cases ev...it was even rampant. But personally I did not suffer anti-Semitism. Although I've seen it all around me on occasions. I used to play after school. Occasionally I would even-- instead of going to cheder, I would skip cheder sometimes and I would go and play with my boyfriend, play ball or play whatever we did. Of course, eventually if my father did find out about it, I was punished. But occasionally I would take chances and do that. So, maybe because I was closer to them, that I personally didn't find out except I might have, on occasion heard 'em talking about, oh that dirty Jew--not meaning me, but meaning somebody else. Maybe a friend of, another friend of mine or someone, you know. But it was definitely there without any doubt. But personally I did not suffer.

Any members of your family that you know? I mean, immediate family.

I'm sure there was. I'm sure my father was called many times, "You dirty Jew," when he would go into a store wanting to sell some of his things. "Ah, we don't buy from Jews." Or they would have signs uh, in Polish meaning well, let me say it first in Polish. ??? meaning, you only buy from your own kind, you only support your own kind. And my father used to tell me, he used to see these signs--I didn't see 'em--but my father used to tell me in his travels he used to see these signs displayed in some of the stores. So he couldn't even enter these stores. And although he--as I say, although he spoke Polish, but there was a little--I'm sure there was some kind of an accent there, they would recognize that he was Jewish.

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