Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Sobel - September 8, 1998

Dangers of Being Communist

So would you say they were--would you call your family assimilated?

Yes. You know, yes, assimilated, but not rejecting their roots, but a strong tie with their roots, very strong tie with uh, with their cultural Jewishness, but not with the religion.

Well, Po'alei Zion, that shows some commitment. Do you think your father was a Zionist?

Uh, was my fa...I never heard anything about it but what I did hear, you talk uh, about this enchantment about the Czech situation that I am not aware of, but I remember the enormous disenchantment of both of my parents when during the war we moved to the Poland, to the Soviet Union. I remember my father saying, "Is this what I gave my life for?" And he became a anti-communist. And he was--and, and, I--my mother would repeat this often, "Is this what I gave my life for? Is this what I sacrificed?"

What did he mean? Your father...

It meant, you know, to be a socialist, a communist in Poland at that time, it was a dangerous condition. I recall as a young child the communication that was going between friends, my parent's friends apparently if there was a search on someone's house, immediately--we didn't have a phone, a telephone--but immediately there was a network of saying they searched this one and this one's house and there would be a lot of papers hidden on the attic. And apparently they had a small press, or, or a typewriter, no, but I saw this quick motion with all kinds of papers, flyers, pamphlets being hidden on the attic. And the friends, whose children we had were political, were people who were imprisoned for political beliefs. So this was illegal, their activity was illegal. When he was saying "This is what I gave my life for?" uh, there was a lot of personal sacrifice committed to the belief.

And the Polish police would come.

Yes, Polish police because that was an illegal activity.

Do you remember anything about Pi?sudski?

I know the name Pi?sudski, I heard about Pi?sudski, but I didn't know enough.

Did your parents like him? Do you remember?

I think they didn't.

They didn't?

I don't--I really, I really--I shouldn't say, I shouldn't say because this would be just guess work. I had not heard much about, I knew that there was a Pi?sudski and he was the president. I am not so sure whether they knew it then or I knew it later and associated. Uh, but I did remember.

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