Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Helen Stransky - January 31, 2008

Learning about the Holocaust

When did you start to hear about what was going on in Europe with the Holocaust?

Um, well my uncle before he died he--we would make trips from the small town to Toronto and he would tell us--he would give us um, stories and um, literature to tell us about the Holocaust and he paid my brother to read it because he didn't want--my brother didn't want to it. He didn't want to know about it.

This was after the war.

Yes, but at the time my-I guess I was in, in, in the first family and um, the um, I think the Red Cross said that our parents--or my uncle said that the Red Cross looked for our parents and decided that they were dead. Uh, they looked through the uh, they--my uncle told me that they were--had been political prisoners and were killed. Later on it was changed but at that time...

So he didn't identify them as Jewish, Jewish prisoners.

No, no.

Um, so there was nothing about the murder of the Jews that he was particularly interested in communicating except he wanted you to read these books.

He wanted us to know about the Holocaust and about our family had been killed and to remember that we were Jews, um...

This was when he tried to bring you back.

When he tried to bring us back.

I see. Were the other families religious? Christian families were they?

The first family, she was. She had a real faith and um, she was a believer in Jesus.

Did she try to...


...take you to church with them?

Yeah, they did. I went with them. I guess it was a Methodist church and then a Baptist church and I guess at that time I thought it was good and I, I believed. The second family uh, not so much. They were secular but we went with them to the--their Anglican church and the third family a Presbyterian church, so I was raised that way.

Did you see them as your rescuers?


These families that took you in, did you perceive them as helping you out?

Oh yeah, the first family I loved very much and they had no children of their own and um, we just--both of us loved them. And, um...

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn