Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zofia Szostak - 1985

Early Years II

You had a nanny too?

Yes, I had a nanny. Not, not at this time, though, you know. And uh, just like before, long time before the war, when I was small. And my, my mother was uh, uh, working, I had a nanny, and then uh, there was uh, a woman coming and making washing, you know, occasionally. Just like uh, once a month, this was a, a three days, really specially for, for washing, yeah. And so she came, and if there was some, maybe some painting to be done or anything, somebody else did this, you know. My mother never had time.

You mother was a teacher.

Yes, mm-hm.

Um, if the war hadn't come, what, what kind of plans would you have made for yourself?

Now I was not really, not really very sure, you know? Uh, sometimes I thought that I wanted to be a teacher. But then uh, I was told I had some gift for painting. And uh, I even learned a little bit, you know, besides what I learn in school, I had some, some private lessons. I don't really believe I had a, such a great talent, but this was one of my, my big dreams at that time, you know, and uh, then during the war, I still continued with some of the lessons, and I thought, this is just like, okay, not to be a big artist, painter, artist, but maybe--we call them "plastics" you know, people who use their art for practical purposes, you know--maybe um, internal decorators, or maybe somebody who um, who does something with books; puts nice, nice bindings, this, this is a kind of art too, you know, or, or...something like this. I was not so sure--you know, I was too young at that time, and uh, later--this was just like, when I was really, big enough to, to make some kind of a plans, I couldn't make any plans. I didn't know from one day to another, you know, what is going to happen. My greatest plan was to survive from one day to another.

Do you remember before the war, any, um, anything about the politics of, um, Piłsudski, or, or uh, your father talking about...

That I did, yes. Now uh, my father and mother, you know, they, they were pro-Piłsudski. And I remembered, you know there was lots of talk and we had lots of books, you know, about him, and uh, now this was impossible to really ever, ever... I don't know, if somebody, from our friends criticize him, my parents didn't like it very much, you know? That, that I remembered, you know? And also I, I remember the time, you know, now this-- because there was lots of talk about this at home-- when Hitler took over um, Czechoslovakia, and uh, and then, of course, Austria, and then few times on the radio I heard this, I couldn't understand very well, but some of the words I, I could pick up, you know, and some sentences. When Hitler talked on the radio, he had those speeches, you know, and uh, he was screaming and getting all excited, you know, and everything, and...then also I remember, I--now this was the first time probably, that I, you know, that I heard about the, you know, word "concentration camp," I don't know they, they, they call this maybe, a little different, you know, at that time, but this is maybe the first time to the outside of Germany, people started to have inkling of what was going on inside; that they had those, those labor camps or concentration camps, you know? But who was over there, we didn't know, at that time. And uh...

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