Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984


What schools did you go to?

I went to public school.

And were the Jews and the Gentiles...


...together in the school?

Right, right. Jews and Gentiles was, was together and we had uh, a cheder and we had five hours school. If I went to cheder in the morning I went in, in the afternoon in, in the public school. If I went uh, in the morning in the public school, I went to the, to the--if I went in the morning to the public school, I went to the cheder in the, I mean, the afternoon I went to the cheder.

What did you study in the cheder?

Oh we start uh, Alaph bet, and then davening and then we start chumesh and then we start bereshit. I didn't, I didn't go higher than chumesh Rashi.

So at what age did you stop going to the cheder?

Oh I stopped by age--to the bar mitzvah. By age thirteen I stopped. Oh the bar mitzvah was not such a huge like we have it here in the United States.

What was it like in Poland?

In Poland was uh, Monday or Thursday we read the Torah. So we went in, in the shul. My father went in and, and I got aliyah. And then he passed out cigarettes to everybody and, and a shot of whiskey and a piece of lekach and everybody wished me lots of luck, and that was the whole bar mitzvah. It happened in the--in ???, only shul. Or we didn't make no, no parties at home. Maybe in the higher class--the richer people--maybe they made parties. I don't remember from having such huge parties like we have it here in the United States. And the youth--when we were young was lot of Zionist organization. We had Akiva, we had Hanoar Hatzioni, we had Maccabi, Maccabi club. We played soccer ball--here they call soccer ball, we called football. And we had the Betar, the Revisionists, and we have a lot of, and, and Ha-Shomer Ha-Tsa'ir.

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