Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Esther Posner - March 11, 1986

Life in Hiding

Were you warned uh, as Anne Frank was, about the silence?

Not--right, couldn't--we just had to speak very sil...we had to--we couldn't speak loud. We whispered most of the time. Um, we didn't wear shoes; we wore uh, my father made slippers for us out of uh, fabric and cardboard and that's what we wore. And we passed the day. The adults played cards. My father played a card game with my grandfather and it needed three men, and he only had--there were only two of them. So he finally broke down and taught my aunt this card game. But he treated her like she was one of the boys, and I really remember when, you know, cursing at her and, and uh, you know, that kind of thing when nobody was in the house, there was a lot of yelling going on. I guess people just had to let off steam.

There was tension then.

There was tension.

As a six-year-old child, what do you?

Uh, uh, everyone was very good to me. My aunt and my moth...my mother spent a lot of time with me. They--my father taught me how to read. He got books from the underground uh, you know, 'til, when I was a little over six and I would have normally been going to school. He said to them, you know, "I need some books to teach her how to read." They brought books and they weren't exactly, you know, if I, if I--if you look at them now, they were just books with not too many words on a page, but uh, anyway my father tried to teach me how to read and it didn't work. And it went on for about a week and everybody said, you know, everybody else would say every day after the lesson, "Well, how is she doing?" And he would say, "Well, not that great." I really wasn't getting the hang of it and after about two weeks we stopped. I just wasn't catching on. And uh, I didn't read for another year, and then all of a sudden I picked up a book and I was able to read.

You were still in hiding.

We were still in hiding, yes. Uh, and I was taught to, to write in the same way. Uh, I knew how to print before we went into hiding, but, you know, I, I had to learn penmanship. So uh, the people who were teaching me weren't exactly uh, you know, too sure of what they were doing and--but everybody really tried. They uh, they taught me to crochet and to knit and I did a lot of that kind of stuff. Um, I learned math very well, you know, there was a lot of drilling on the multiplication tables and that kind of stuff.

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