Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Emanuel Tanay - March 16, 1987

Hiding in Monastery

Just a question about that, did you know of or did your father know of Oskar Schindler when they were in camp?

Oh yes, my father knew Schindler and I was not quite um, aware of it after the war but I heard about him at the time. You know, at the time when my father was in that camp, um, I was in a monastery. And the monastery was very close by to the, it was just outside of Krakow, Krakow and uh, it was very close by to that camp where my father was. And there was a German there by name Schwartzer, he was from Innsbruck, who uh, who was very helpful to my father. And he would take my father out of the camp and hire a, you know like a taxi, but it was a horse driven vehicle, and bring him to the monastery which was unheard of. Uh...

To be with you?

To visit with me. Now, that was possible uh, cause you know there's another interesting aspect of it. My father and like myself, spoke fluent Polish, which not all Jews did. In Poland, in fact, very few Jews could speak Polish in a manner that you wouldn't recognize them as Jews. Another thing was that my father did not appear like a Jew so that he could get out and he did have false papers, Polish papers even though he was in a camp. So he was always, his hope was that if anything developed dangerous, he would immediately leave the camp and live on the Aryan side. So he was sort of playing for time. However, he miscalculated, but he was being helped by this particular German, Schwartzer. And sometime later down the line when I had to leave the monastery and was in great danger, uh, I knew where Schwartzer lived in the German district of Krakow and found him and he helped me to stay with him a few nights until I found some other way so, here was a unique situation uh, where a German was helping a Jewish youngster or was helping my father.

What do you think would have happened to Schwartzer had he been discovered?

Oh, had he been discovered, he would have no doubt gone to concentration camp. He might not have been executed like a Pole, a Pole who would have assisted a Jew would have been shot on the spot, but a German most likely would have been just sent to a concentration camp.

Do you think he knew that?

Oh, he knew that, no doubt about it. Yes. Well, he wasn't the only German who has uh, helped my family for example, in the ghetto, in Miechow, there was one time a liquidation of the ghetto. See there were various stages, there were various liquidations and uh, one time my parents were caught with a liquidation, they couldn't get out of the ghetto, but adjacent to our house in the ghetto, but sort of separate from it, was the German post office. I mean the post office for the town and it was operated by two or three Germans who were in charge of it. And then it was Polish people worked in the post office and the postmeister, the man who was in, the German who was in charge of it, who would come to my parents as a patient, even in the ghetto, did hide my mother, my father and my sister. I was away at that point. My parents located me somewhere else and he did hide them for two days in his, in his apartment, which again if discovered, and his assistant was a vicious Nazi who went around the ghetto and if he had the slightest opportunity, he tormented and sometimes shot Jews, if he would have discovered that, uh, no doubt that German would have been, I don't even know his name, I don't know who he was, uh, but I know him, I remember him clearly, I would almost recognize him on the street, he was called the postmeister, uh, but uh, so he was,...assisted too. These kinds of things did happen.

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