Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Sobel - September 8, 1998

Parent's Political Affiliation

How large is your family?

Just my sister and I. The immediate family there were just two children, yeah. My parents had a lot of non-Jewish friends. And I recall as a youngster before I knew to, before I knew how to read I was able to recognize the difference in the Jewish, I was a Yiddish, and the Polish alphabet, and I was kind of amazed seeing my mother look at a Yiddish newspaper and read it in Polish to her friends, to her non-Jewish friends, if it was a article that was of interest. They were politically involved in the Socialist party and then in the Communist party.

Okay, do you know if your father was a member of the Bund?

Uh, I know he was a member of the Po'alei Zion.

So it was Jewish politics as opposed to...

Jewish political, Jewish. No Jewish. And labor union, I know he was very active in the labor union. And it wasn't just Jewish politics. Their socialism and their, the communism too, it's beyond the Jewish politics. I remember quite a number of children at various stages living with us whose parents were jailed for political reasons. Children of either--I don't know if they were Jewish or non-Jewish. Some--one stayed with us for six months, one for other periods of time because their parents were jailed. I also remember two in particular individuals who stayed with us for a period of time before going uh, volunteering in the Spanish Revolution. I recall one very tall young man who was uh, uh, exercising with a broom so he will train himself, he will build up his muscles and he went to volunteer to Spain in the Spanish Revolution. These were their friends so apparently it went beyond just the Jewish community. I still remember as a--some of the verses for children against the Spanish regime in Polish that apparently my uh, parents taught me.

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