Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zofia Szostak - 1985

Early Years

Tell me something about your schooling. Um, what, day-to-day, what kind of things did you study in elementary school?

Uh, everything. Of course, was the war, you know; just, just those three R's, you know, and you know how to read, write and, and count, and geography, and we had to learn history and uh, you know, and very great stress was put on learning about other people in other countries, you know? About their customs, and...were kind...very, very interested, you know, in this. 'Cause we had to learn religion. Now um, in Poland, now, you could never say that you were, you know--just for the official purposes--you could not say that you don't, you don't have any religion, you know? Officially you had to say some...something. So uh, but we were, we were Catholics, you know? And um...uh, some, some, for example, I had in my classroom I had some, some Jewish girls, and uh, and uh, boys, they were attending the same, the same school, but for religion classes they, they left, you know? 'Cause they had their own uh, religion instructions, you know? Some other place, in some other town. And then, uh, we had uh, some people Orthodox, you know, uh...

Greek Orthodox?

Greek, Greek Orthodox, then um, there were Ukrainian Catholics, these different rites, you know, and--now, I didn't have people like this, but I know that some of my friends used to go and study after school.

Did you have Jewish friends in school?

Yes, mm-hm.

Neighbors too?

I lived in uh, in, in Jewish house. This was owned by uh, a daughter of one, one rather very well-known doctor in, in Bochnia, Dr. Frankel, and Miss Frankel owned, owned a, a little villa on the outskirts of Bochnia. And also she had uh, uh, she had this, you know, big garden with, with flowers and all sorts of fruits, you know, and uh, this was her, her way of, of, you know--and I, I think that she finished horticulture in Indiana some time ago. She traveled, and, and everything, was very nice, very nice lady. I do not know what became of her really during, during the war, you know? Then uh, now the closest one that I, I really knew, this was ??? uh, and uh, she, her, her father was, uh, had a drugstore. I don't think that she was my closest friend, but the one, Jewish people, Jewish children, you know, that I knew her better, 'cause she was, for about two years, she was in the same class with me, and um, once I kind of upset at her, I really told it, you know. And I don't think that I understood her really very well, you know, and she went her own way, and we went our own way, you know?

You said you had a uh, you lived in a house then with your parents...

Yes, mm-hm.

And anyone else?

And this was uh, this was uh, downstairs was our apartment, and upstairs uh, Miss Frankel used to live, and uh...

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