Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Malka Sternberg - January 31, 2008

Religious Life

Did you go to a Jewish school?

No, there was no Jewish school. There weren't enough people there. Our community was maybe maximum fifty families. There was the non-religious ones, which was a big community. We were on very good terms with them, we had no, no disagreements but we didn't--they lived their way and we lived our way. The rabbi--it was--Liberec is a, is a junction of all of trains from all over Europe so many people stopped--this was before the war, you know, many people stopped there because they didn't want to travel on Shabbos. So, they went to the rabbi if they can eat there and said, "No, you can't eat in my place. I'll send you to a place where you can eat." His place wasn't kosher. Yes, it wasn't kosher and it was a very good arrangement, we were on very good terms with him. He did all the official things with us. When we needed a signature--I had to have a letter every Shabbat that I didn't need to write in school. He would give me the letter for Shabbat. We were on very good terms with each other but they lived their way. So, he always sent them to one of the ??? brothers. There they could stay for Shabbat.

Tell me what a Friday night was like in your house.

Oh, beautiful. Unfortunately, my father has no voice for singing. He loved singing. Then I married him and he had a voice. That was a big thing. The first one in the ??? who could sing, which was Moishe and uh, for my father it was like, like something out of this world. We'd have Friday night, the table was ??? Friday night kiddish and the challas my mother used to bake and uh, best meal and usually was one of his ???.

And you said the whole clan would come.

The clan would come to grandmother's. We would walk there on, on Saturday morning. But everyone lived in different places--not far, all walking distances--and everyone had their own home.

And then you'd go sh...then you'd go to one of the shtiebelekh.

Yes, and the shtiebelekh--we all went to the same shtiebl and then in the afternoon we'd go to my grandmother's. I remember this--across the road from, from the farm was a tun...tunnel--little tunnel, you know, just you could walk through--plus another tunnel you drove through--you walk through it, above it went the train. And this time it helped me afterwards when we came back to look at it. I traced it to my grandmother's place because there was no sign of them. Everything was destroyed and the Communists had made what they a, a...

Husband: ???.

??? and all sorts of work shops and things. One was doing tractors, another was doing something else, some of them was working with animals. So, they had ??? next to ??? the whole way...

Husband: ???--cooperative, you know what a cooperative is?

Yes, a kind of a cooperative. And through this tunnel I managed to find my grandmother's place. We had photos which he took when they demolished it and it was my grandmother's place. But that was in 1992 when we could go there already. But this is just a by the way. And the children would play, all the family would love to be together, we loved each other, we loved to be together. There were lots of us and we had a yard and a big back garden--not much of a garden but somewhere we could play around with and lots trees to climb and if you went all the way down you came to the River Neisse at the bottom of it. And we loved being together and we loved the Shabbos. It was happy.

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