Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Jewish Organizations

Were you a, a member of any of them?

Yeah, I, I belong, I belonged to three organizations. I belonged to Akiva, I belonged to Maccabi, I belonged to the Betar.

What did you do in these organizations?

These organizations--something--we had a lot of knowledge about Palestine and they were talking about uh, Palestine, we. And we hachshara to go to, to--this time we had Palestine, everybody--the youth want to immigrate to Palestine, only it was very difficult because if we were--we got older we had to go for three years hachshara, then when England issued certificates, we could go on those certificates to, to Palestine. Only the war broked out in--that interrupt the whole thing.

Did you want to go to Palestine?

Yeah. Every young fellow, every Betar, every Hanoar Hatzioni, and from Akiva, from Maccabi, everybody--we were brought up so Zionist that everybody just hoped the day will come that we can go to Palestine, now what we call Israel.

Was it uh, what were the living conditions in Poland?

The living conditions we can say was very bad. Only we didn't know better, so was a normal living condition. For instance, working men like my father--shoemaker--we had two rooms. In the one room we fixed the shoes--it was the kitchen. On the other room was the, the bedrooms. And we, and we were...

How many people lived in your...

We were, we were five kids and my father and mother--we were seven.

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