Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Esther Praw - May 22, 1983

Remembering Life with Mother and Grandmother

What type of work did your mother do?

My mother was uh, this uh, going from house to house, they call it here peddler. And selling--she didn't have the money to buy the materials, so somebody give her the materials and when you sell, you pay. It was very rough. I feel more now uh, sorry for my mother, and especially for my grandma, than for myself, you know. Most of the time I feel very sorry for myself because my nerves.

As you were growing up you had just this one grandmother in your little town?

Grandmother, yeah, and my mother and a sister and stepsisters and a brother. They used to live in Ł&oauml;dź, but like I mentioned, during the war they came, and I was very close with them, very, very close.

Did you know your other grandparents?

No, they died. And I didn't know my father either.

Within the community that you lived um, did you attend religious services?

We had uh, religious--um, the place where I lived, the room where I lived, the next room, they prayed, every, every Saturday and every morning. The next room. It was a room special for praying. We were very religious at home, you know. I am not so religious now, I believe in God very strongly, and uh, I go to shul and I try to do good things in my life, and I mean the most--I mentioned to my husband if I would be more healthier, then, I have--I am not well with my health, I have problems besides nerves. Uh, they found a tumor, it's not malignant but uh, it's three and a half inches big and they didn't want to operate, I don't know why. And the stomach bothers me, and the most that bothers me is my nerves. From the nerves I get tired, from the nerves I get depressed, from the nerves you know. I would like to help people, especially older people. I would like to go into an old folks' home and help them for nothing, but I don't. Because I cannot do it because uh, I cannot taking here a maid to do my work, and when it comes one o'clock I have to lay down everyday, you know, because I get so tired. But my, my goal in life would be wanting to help. And I hope that my mother and my grandma forgives me for going away from town the day before they got killed. Sometimes I have guilty conscious but my daughters here, and I wouldn't be here you know. The kids has the names from my parents. The grandchildren. My daughter's named after my mother, my other daughter's named after my grandma. It's very important to me, you know. And the grandchildren, one grandchild has the middle name after, the middle name after my father, you know. And to me, I think it's something what I accomplished, because if I would get killed with them, it wouldn't do any good anyway, you know. This way, it's another generation now, it's left.

Did you ever hear uh, anything about your family uh, after the day that you left town?

It hurts me. Never. And I never had a picture. If I would have a picture. If I could have anything to look at, anything, I am thinking now, I could grab something and hide something with me, and how stupid I was that I didn't do it. I uh, my first husband, he was very ill already, a nurse brought it out to the hospital, a doll, and uh, I hide, I hide it out, and I am going to give it now to the younger daughter you know, she should have it. It is so important to have something, you know. People have pictures, I don't know how. Because they have relatives somewhere else, where they send pictures, like United States or whatever, Hungary or whatever, but somebody survived. Or I could take--I will tell you why I don't have pictures. We never took pictures. We didn't have money to go and take pictures. I was thinking that I came to the camp, one German came in once, I was working in the factory, ???, and he said to me, why you don't talk to me? Uh, in German he said, I am a person, I'm not a Jew. So I said to him, I risked my life, but I said to him, what you want from me, I said. I never, and this is true, I never had anything in my life, not a doll, not a toy, not money, not food, for what? What you want from me? What I have in my life that you do that to me? That I have to stay work because you want me to work? You can make from me, you can tell me how, you can come with a gun, I have to do what you want me to do. But for what reason? I never had a good day in my life yet. And when I came to the camp I was ???. Never enough bread before the war, so what they want from me. Never had toys to play. Never nothing. I am glad that my kids are interested in the Holocaust. They call me from Tucson, whenever they tell me they go, it makes me feel great.

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