Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Peppy Rosenthal - July 1, 2009


So you'd spend the days just in the hay?

Yes. Just dreaming, and thinking. Um, when it was time for us--so they moved us in a wagon covered with straw. My father...we separated at that time. I don't know what happened to the partner and his wife and son; they somehow survived. You know, one of the things is, when these people were alive, I was in a stage of my life where I didn't talk about this, so a lot of things that I'm curious now, like where did they go, where did they hide out; I have no idea because I never talked about it at that point. And um, so I don't know what happened to them. But I know my father and they took me to this convent, and my father left me there, and he joined the Partisans. But everybody was whispering that he was dead, because he had this fur coat, and he gave it away so it would look, you know, that he died, and so people wouldn't search for him, the, the Ukrainians. But he hid out someplace in the forest, with, with other Jews, and also with some Partisans. And I stayed in the convent for a while until they told, found me a place, and they told that I was an orphan, and they um...

What do you remember about the convent?

They were very nice to me. I have special warm heart, in my...in my heart, you know, about how they treated me, and they took--New Year's Eve, I remember them taking me to church. I didn't have any shoes on, so they wrapped my feet with towels and stuff.

Did they teach you prayers?

Oh yes. I was, I wore a cross.

So you were Catholic.

Yes, I was raised Catholic.

Do you remember the prayers?

No. And I was a good Catholic, too. And you know, I remember when my Dad came back, you know, and we moved into our house, my dad not once said, "Take off that cross," or , "Don't say that," or, "Don't go to church." He never said a word. And then all by myself, you know, I stopped doing those things.

So, but you knew you were Jewish?

Oh yes, oh yes.

And of course the people at the convent knew, because...

Yes, they, they knew that I was Jewish. So I, I don't remember how long it was that I stayed at the convent, but I know it was wintertime, because I was cold, and I remember not having warm things. And then they gave me to this family that lived, like way, way far away from the road, I mean, you could see their house but it was like a little, it looked very tiny from the road, so, and it was safe there. And if I saw a person walking towards the house, I would immediately hide. I had a special place where to hide. And uh, I stayed there I know one winter, and a summer, not whole summer, I don't know, but I remember it being warm, and sometimes when it was nighttime I would go outside and play. And uh, then one day I saw this man coming in the distance, and I went and I hid, and then, as he came closer, the woman recognized my dad. And uh, she went and she got me...my dad came and, you know, that was the first time I saw him in a long time. And we stayed together.

And he had been living in the forest with the Partisans?

Mm-hm, mm-hm. And also some other Jews too. And some of those Jews went and they stayed at our house. They went as, as we were being liberated from the Russians, Jews came out from hiding, and they came and they stayed in our house.

So you, you moved back in to your house in Rozhishche?

Uh-huh. And there was some other people there. And uh...

So this must have been 1944 already.

Mm-hm, because we were liberated by then. And that's where we met up with Jack and his brother. And I don't remember how we met them, but I remember that we went, we traveled to um, Lublin. And we stayed there for a while, and I think that's where uh, Jack's brother; do you know his brother?

I do.

Uh, Jack's...I think that's where Jack's brother met his wife, that to me they were talking about romances, I thought they were the most happiest, wonderful, loving people that anyone could ever want to meet. Um, and we stayed there for a while, and then we went from there to um, Łódź. And my...and we moved to Łódź, and um, that's where my dad would take me to school, and he would walk me in through one door, and the minute he left I would leave through another door. There were too many kids--we went to Danzig, were there, from Łódź we went to Danzig.


Uh-huh. And my dad and, and uh, Jack's brother went in to business.

I see.

And they, I don't know, loaded up a train of goods and sent it to Poland, but it never arrived.

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