Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Aaron Salzburg - July 24, 1984

Pre-WWII Life in Opatów II

What um, what sort of business did your father have?

We had, we had a furniture shop. We build furnitures uh, we build uh, homes, we build machinery for farmers. Those days the farming machinery--the skeletons were made of wood and we did a lot of work on that and made a comfortable living.

Were all your brothers carpenters?

The older brother was a tailor, a good tailor, and also very familiar with carpenter work. The younger brother was a carpenter. Unfortunately there wasn't too much work for women. They were completely excluded as far as work whether physically or other types of work. Uh, we were not allowed--for Poland--to perform any work for the government. We were excluded--the Jewish people were include--excluded from government type work. The only type--the only time my father got a job from the city of government work was if he took in a partner, especially one of, of our friend, by the name ??? ???. He came into our house uh, an orphan without a father, at the early age, sick mother. We taught him the trade. He married in our house and we got him associate with the highest clergy--church clergy in the city. And the man became a very active person in the city as a true, through and through Catholic. A very devoted Christian man, but I found out how bitter this person was against Jews. The only time we could get a job with the city--if he took the job on his own name and we were behind the scene, on the paper--partners. That's the only time a Jew could have a job, a government job. I know of one person who worked in the city hall and that was the register of--the civil register, the register of the Jewish population. And he was the only, the only man allowed to be an employee in the city. No police people or anything else--policeman could held a job as a police officer, or any other uh, office job in our city, and I would imagine it was like that all over Poland. Our educated boys--that means, people--intellectual people with a high school and a college degree. Poland had a decree--any educated kid which was enlisted was automatically to become an officer. By doing so they uh, they would not--they would enlist the people, but they wouldn't take them to, to the service because they were discri...discriminated and they couldn't allow a Jewish person to become an officer in, in the Polish army, although we served in the army and uh, we served our country. [pause] I think this is as much.

[Unknown voice] Say about those concentration camps...

Well we went to do it--after this...

Well--you can keep on going um, you mean you wanted to stop to talk about pre-World War II Opatów? Was that what you mean?

Pre-World War II I uh, this is as much experience as I have...

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