Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Peppy Rosenthal - July 1, 2009

After the War II

So we um, my father's best friend's sister was living in Lutsk, and I found her through, through this one, to that one, and I got her telephone number, and I called her and told her who she, who I was, and she just got hysterical, and she and her daughter came to pick us up at the train station, and they had such a spread for us, and we brought them things with us. We also went to see refuseniks, not in Rozhishche, but in um, Moscow, and in um, Leningrad. Yeah, in Moscow and in Leningrad uh, St. Petersburg, rather. Um, anyway um, they found someone that could find my house, and the woman that's living there now remembered me, remembered that I had a burn on my leg, and asked to see it, and she was a little nervous, thinking that I was gonna kick her out right then and there. And uh, she invited us in, and I looked around, as to what I remembered, and what I didn't remember.

What did that feel like, to be in that house?

I cried a lot. I didn't have that many memories that were fun.

But your mother wasn't there, so...


What, when you came back to Rozhishche after liberation, what happened when you went to the house?

There were a lot of people. Lot of Jewish people.

Who had come back?

Mm-hm. I mean, a lot, a lot. Not as many as...

So, yeah. Are there any Jews in Rozhishche now?

Uh, I know of two. I mean, they may have passed on.

Two. So you went back, you went back to your house...


And there were other people living in it after the, after the liberation?

Yeah. This woman was, the one that's still there now? Was there then too.

And did, did you speak to anyone in, in the city? Non-Jews?

Yes. When I went back now?


Yes. This woman in--her face looked like railroad tracks, you know? Um, and she, she says, "God, you look just like your father." You know, when you don't have anybody, there's just so much meaning when someone says, "Gee, you look like your mother," or, "You look like your father, like your grandfather," um, which, people that have these significant others don't need, you know, certification. Um, she says, "You look just like your father," and she started telling me stories about how my father used to watch over me, and how nobody could touch me, and they had to wash their hands. And I thought, "God, they must've been neurotic, even then." I didn't know it existed. And she just said, you know, your mother was killed, but I mean, what else could she say to me?

Did she know any specifics?


It was just that she was killed.


Tell me again, your, your father put you in a convent...


And then your parents separated...

My parents?

Was your mother still alive when you went into the convent?

No. No, that was after Mr. Kovalczyk was murdered.

Was murdered. And when did she, when was, when was the last time you saw your mother?

When we were hiding in, in the, where you keep the pigs?


At the first stop that we made when we left the ghetto.

I see. Right, yeah.

And that's where uh, she said she would go and see about finding my father, so that um, she, they could take me there.

And she never came back.

She never came back. Never went to where my father was either.

And where was he?

He was at the Kovalchiks'.

Oh. And this is after he had been in Siberia?

Yes. Oh, yes. This is when the Germans...yeah.

So this is uh, German occupation was about three years...

They did a lot in three years.

They certainly did. Um, do you remember what it was like seeing German soldiers? Did you...


And what did you think when you saw them at first?

I hated them. I used to make up stories, you know, what the Germans did to me, and um, in Danzig when we were there. The Russians were just so wonderful and um, believing me. I mean, there was my...mm, I don't know the, the right English word, I didn't feel any guilt lying about it, because this was my payback to them.

So what did you, what did you tell them?

I don't know, somebody kicked me, somebody called me "Russian lover," you know, just anything that an eight year old, seven year old can make up. I mean, I was smart enough to know that they were going to pay for it. You become old in a hurry.

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