Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Sobel - September 8, 1998

Lack of Jewish Culture in Krakow Orphanage

Okay, let's go back to Krakow.


Tell me more about the orphanage. I'm fascinated that this is connected to Korczak. This was a Korczak style, is that...

Well, let me say this, we read all Korczak. Not that it was a required reading, but we heard so much about Korczak and his last sacrifice, going with the children...

You knew about that.

Yes, going with the children. We knew about it. And uh, our teachers talked about it. I went to a school for Jewish children. Not a Hebrew school, not a Yiddish school, but a school for Jewish children in Polish.

And was there any...

All teachers would...

...introduction of Jewish life?

The only introduction of Jewish life that we had Yiddish as a language.

Still just...

But Yiddish as a language and uh, I would have a Polish novel sitting reading under my desk. There was--I had no interest in Jewish life and none of the children seemed to.

None of the children. So they're still not talking about Holidays or the Shabbas or anything like that.

No, there was, the orphanage never had a Shabbat celebration, nothing. But they were all Jewish children. But none of that. We do, they did send us to a Jewish school. The Jewish community took great interest in us, in the children, and there was a lot that was done for us in terms of enriching our education. I even went to summer camps organized by the Jewish community. Went to summer camps, not in the area but to the Baltic Ocean, to the Baltic Sea.

Now, what was left of the Jewish community? This was after the war.

What was left--I can't tell you how many Jews were in Poland, in, in Krakow after the war. Krakow was the least--well, most of them were people who came from the Soviet Union, not people who survived there.

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