Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Life Before the War

What did you do on Sundays when you were young?

Uh Sundays that--Sunday every time was this. So we went to, to Maccabi. Maccabi had a nice local and we played ping pong. And uh, was libraries. We could, we could go in the library and we could read a Jewish book. And there was always something, always something. There was a Jewish play from the, some organization, from the Hanoar Hatzioni, from, from the Maccabi or from the Betar. And usually--and it was, I mean, when we were young I didn't enjoy too much of my youth because uh, when 1939 the war broked out, I was eighteen years old so I didn't enjoy too much. I got caught between. So that was--the city itself was such a nice city that was just--was places to go. Was a beautiful park, very--and some day usually a orchestra or from the army or some--from the firemans or from somebody--some volunteers. They came to the park, they sat on the benches and they played beautiful music and uh, and the people sit and listen to the music or we walked around. Or if uh, not, we didn't have so much take this, this anti-Semite to, to chase us or to fight with us, we could spend Sunday with the, with the, with the Gentiles. Or if somebody stood up because--they had young fellows by us, we named him "???," the ???--the young fellows they used to make uh, they, they were drafted--they were wearing uniforms or they had shovels. And they were working all week and put the--between the--by the water, they put the dirt so the water would not overflowing.

A dike.

Dike. They used to work all week in this, in this place. And Saturday they got paid a couple zlotys and they thought that they--they went to town and they got so wild that we, we saw 'em coming so we had to hide it. Only lately so we went--one could chase about ten boys. Or lately one fellow when he turned around, he could chase ten of them. So we had uh, serious fight with them and we won a lot of fights. I had a--my father had a friend--he just died in Toronto--his name was Yukel. And he used to--by trade he used to ride a horse and buggy. He used to have a horse from the railroad station and to the merchandise. And he was a very strong man. If he see--saw them coming, he turned around and he pulled out a something--a piece of wood or something what he could catch in his hands and just the hats were flying. If they saw him coming--so instead they chasing us, he--we chased them. Oh we had always something exciting going on.


'Til--Jewish people usually we were not known for fighters. We always were busy with lectures or we came to ba'al darshan and he was uh, preaching bet ha midrash a--ba'al darshan.

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