Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Religion During German Occupation

What were the uh, High Holy Days like in 1939?

Nineteen thirty-nine was normal. The high holidays we conduct normal. Nineteen forty was, we conduct normal. Was in 194...in 1941, I was home. We had uh, already I think, it was already separately, we had to--I think still we went to the--no, I don't think so--we went to--in '41 to--forty we went to synagogue--'41 I don't remember we went to synagogue. We had already to not to groups or any big groups.

Were you still active uh, 1939, 1940 with uh, the Betar?

No, no, no, no. Everything was dissolved. We--because we already--some ran away because Russia saved a lot of Jews. A lot of from our hometown went over, because we had the Vistula, and then we had another river called the Bug. And the Russians came to the Bug, to the Somme, it was another river, Somme. And a lot of boys and girls went over to the--on the Russian side because they saw that uh, we didn't--the first year or two we didn't talk about crematoriums, about gassing--we didn't, we didn't think about those kind of things. Maybe they will take us out to labor camps--we will, we will have to labor and our parents still remember the World War I, there was no gas chambers, there was no--or maybe they will take us for laboring or for--concentration camps was not so much talked like about labor camp. Then we heard there's a Majdanek and then is a Treblinka, then we have found out there's an Auschwitz.

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