Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Opas - [n.d.]

Work and Religion in the Ghetto

Where did you work?

Pardon me?

Where did you work?

I worked for a furrier.

In Warsaw.

In Warsaw, in the ghetto.

You were able to take the skills that you learned as a youngster...

Yeah, yeah.

...and work.

Well, I couldn't...

Were you allowed out of the ghetto to work?

I had, I had no money to, to open a, a business again.

Were you allowed out of the ghetto to work or this was in the ghetto?

No, no in the ghetto, in the ghetto.

Mm-hm, yeah.

We worked for--this was for Germans.


I had to make a living somehow to support my family. This was a--we worked for the German government. But there were shops, furrier shops. Because they were making, they were making those um, coats--oh, they called it coats--for the, for the, for the people--for the soldiers who were on the Russian front.


So I found, I found, I found work in my trade. And uh, in the beginning it wasn't so bad. I mean it, it wasn't too good but uh, but we made somehow a living and we, we managed somehow. We would get a, a--you know, everything was rationed.

Mm-hm. Were you able to carry on with religious activities?

Yeah, we could.

Mm-hm. And they didn't stop you from making a religious observances or anything like that?

No, privately.


Not in the synagogues, synagogues were closed right away. Only privately in the apartments we did it.

Many people would gather together to have a religious observance?

Yeah, well, each apartment building had, had one, had one apartment or one room where this neighbors, the neighbors from the apartment building get in it and observe the holidays.

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