Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zofia Szostak - 1985

Fate of Friends and Neighbors

And in order to force parents to became Volksdeutsche you know, and parents said they're not, they would not, not do this because their, their sons would be ashamed of them. And almost at the same time, they were, they were pressed...you know, those boys, at first they were at Montelupich, then later they were, they were in Oświęcim I don't know if there's some other camps out there what's--So they were being, being uh, kind of pressured also to, to uh, change their nationality and they refused. They somehow...they, they survived, you know, but uh, they, they never...and I will never forget, Mrs. ??? uh, every day in the church, on her knees, praying for her sons, you know, and so they would survive. But there were others, you know, wicked people, and uh, they did this, but uh, then some of my, my other professors, you know uh, Professor ??? was being arrested. Strangely enough, he was the German teacher. He was, he was arrested, and he never survived; they sent him to Oświęcim after a little while uh, either his wife or someone, anyways, his family found out that um, he died of a heart attack. This is--it seemed to me that most of those people were dying, you know, their families were notified that they died of, of this. Then there was, uh, one of our closest friends, uh, Mr. Mihalik. He was, he was a salt-mining engineer, and uh, was uh, he was arrested, but how he was arrested. So, he was in the army in Hungary, you know, and then um, he tried to get to his family--he had two, two daughters and a wife--he wanted to go back. So he...instead of staying with the, with our army in Hungary and later moving west, you know, and doing what everybody else did this...I guess he was homesick, or he just was concerned about his family, he came back, and he was caught in the mountains. And uh, at first he was imprisoned, there was a great prison in old castle in Bujnice and this is when his wife was notified that he was over there. Then he was sent to Tarnów, from Tarnów to Oświęcim. He died over there, heart attack too, so they sent her glasses from here, and asked if she can pick up some ashes. Of course, she never went. You know, those ashes would never, never be his, probably something from somebody's fireplace or, or who knows what, you know. And so, this is how, you know, lots of people--and then, uh, they started closing ghetto. Now I don't exactly remember when they closed ghetto. Now, what I am saying, "closing ghetto"? Okay, the ghetto was there, you know, and Jewish people were assigned where they supposed to be, where they supposed to live. But anyway, lots of, lots of Jewish people living still out of Bochnia, maybe they had uh, you know, some, some little farm someplace, you know, in a, in a village or, or something; lots of them were over there. And how many, I found out, you know, much, much later and in a terrible way. So, one day uh, I would have to look at my, my own identification card given to me at that time, because this was day--uh, for example, my name was, uh, you know, Matuszek, my maiden name, and everybody on the letter "M" was supposed to pick up those, those uh, you know, papers, certain day, and this is when it happened.

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