Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984


This is an interview between Berek Rothenberg and Levi Smith, May 20th 1984.

Mr. Rothenberg, when and where were you born?

I was born in Poland. The city name Sandomierz. That's near the river Vistula.

How far is that from Warsaw?

It's far. And uh, I was born in 19...January the third in 1921. It was a nice historic town for the King Kazimierz. There was a synagogue--was a very big synagogue in this lotta historic thing, was uh, a, was a lot of towers and was a city, city hall called magistrat, and was a lot of Jewish or...organizations.

How many uh, how many people lived in the town?

About around eight hundred Jewish families.

And how many Gentile families?

Maybe three times as much.

Uh-huh. Um, what uh, what occupation were your parents?

My father was a shoemaker. My father was a shoemaker and I--when I finished school in 1938, I helped him to work with the--in the shoemaker--fixing shoes. And during the summer, my father used to, used to deal with orchards. So in the summertime he used to buy an orchard and we used to move out in the orchard and we lived all summer from, from the Shavuot holiday 'til the Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur holiday. In the fall we came home and before the holiday we moved back to the city.

You were uh, harvesting fruit?

Yeah, we were harvesting, I mean, we went to the farmer and we bought the orchard, not uh, we just did the fruits. And then we picked the fruits and we sold the fruits and that, and that we made a living during the summertime. And during the wintertime my father used to fix shoes or somebody wants uh, order new shoes, so he, he make the order new shoes too. And I helped him to be--to help him to fix the shoes. Well, why I didn't like this trade because he couldn't make a good living from it--only still was a trade.

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