Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Malka Sternberg - January 31, 2008

Correspondence with Parents

Were you hearing at all from your father? Did you get any...

No, I got mail but not often. If a letter got through it was a big day. The same with my mother's. She couldn't write straight. She wrote to people in Cz...somebody in Sweden, she had somebody in Switzerland, she sent the letters and they knew what to do with them, they sent them to us. But it was long time and not many letters got through. Many letters didn't get through. I have the letters still.

You do have the letters.

Yes, I have the letters.

Do you, do you remember...

Sorry I didn't bring anything with me, she has beautiful handwriting.

In what language did she write?


German, ah, and is that the language you spoke at home?

At home we spoke both German and Czech and Yiddish. They...

Also Yiddish.

Yes, my parents spoke to each other in Yiddish and Polish they spoke to each other when they wanted us not to understand. Of course we understood straight away because it is so much like Czech that if you know Czech you understand Polish.

Do you remember the events of 194--what in particular happened?

Nineteen forty one, yes, we were in Oxford. That was the year we were in Oxford.

And were you still getting letters from your mother?

Uh yes, but very rarely, very rarely. She was already at that time--when--after we left she had a terrible time which I didn't know until a few years ago. What my uncle Toby was--she wrote letters and she had, she had sent them to my Uncle--not Toby there, another one--and when they pa...when this aunt and uncle passed away their daughter sent the letters to me. So, instead of sending them she said, "Toby is going to Israel in a few weeks, so I'll give it to him." He didn't bring them. I had to wait another year or two until I got them and when I got them he said, "Promise me one thing," it was his last visit here--he didn't know that when he died after that but it was his last visit, he said, "You promise me you don't open the envelope until I'm out of the country," because he used to come to Israel to visit--he stayed with my brother and his wife and then he said, "I want to go to Jerusalem for a day," he came for a day and stayed until he had to leave, every time the same thing. Moishe took him around everywhere where he wanted, he loved Jerusalem, he loved staying with us, he loved my cooking and uh, every visit ended like that. So, this time he said, "Don't open the envelope until I'm out of the country, so promise me that." I promised and I kept it. Then I read the letters which she only sent to him at an address outside England but he would be go visiting in Belgium somewhere. She didn't want to go to thing, it was a terrible thing.

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