Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zofia Szostak - 1985

Before the War II

Did you think that, would you say before the war you had a pleasant, secure life?

Very, very pleasant. This was mostly just, just like, okay, vacation with my parents, and uh, and holidays were very, very happy times, and we used to visit people, people used to visit us, and then I had lots of friends, and then I belonged to Girl Scouts, and uh, this was really very, very happy time for me, you know. 'Cause just like, because I was, I was the only child at home, sometimes it was uh, okay, has certain advantages, you know? But on the other hand, can be very lonely. And this gave me opportunity to meet uh, children, you know, young people of my own age, and uh, be a little bit more, uh, you know, have some adventure here and there, you know, in the camp, during the camps, and uh, during--just like, I had, I went to the camp, this was in ??? southeast of Poland, near the ??? Very, very nice place, very nice memories. Then um, just shortly before the war, we were supposed to go on we call this wędrówka, a walking trip. I was old enough that I could, I could take a trip, maybe for a, for about a month, you know, with a group of, of young people. And we wanted to go into mountains, and we are making such a big plans, and all of sudden, um, everything started slowly crumbling, you know, and there was this unrest, and of course, people were talking maybe it will be a war, you know, and some people were saying, "Oh, no, this Mr. Chamberlain is going to do something about it, there will be peace, there will be no war, you know?" And then everything end. But we went to the camp, and, um--and I have to explain one, one thing more... in Poland, uh, scouting was a paramilitary organization. So there was, just like, under protectorate of, of the army. Now, for example, I remember, last year, we were learning how to, how to shoot, you know? In a army range, in Pogwizdów, not very far from, uh, from Bochnia. Went over there, and soldiers took us, transported us, for our last camp just before the war. Uh, not--was in a, in a hills, hill land, but not way in the mountains. And they brought us back about two weeks before the scheduled time...they said, well, this is, there lots of unrest and everything. In fact, after was just shortly before the war, you know, we were used as messengers, and we were helping digging trenches, you know, just, just in case that there would be a war. And--which reminds me, during this digging of those, those trenches, you know, in Bochnia, I made, um, how do you say, you know, I told this--my girlfriend, another Girl Scout--she says, "No, there will be a war," and I told her, "No, uh, there will be no war." So I owe her one, what? I don't know where she is, because I lost. Yeah.

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