Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Miriam Troostwyk - May 28, 1998 and June 3, 1999

Playing Piano

[laughs] When did you meet your husband?

When I was seventeen. I was playing piano. I had piano lessons before the war and after the war. And I had to--and then to Jewish school before the war and after the war.

Let me just ask you, did you play on Shabbos?

Yes, I did.

[laughs] Okay.

I did.

You told me last time that um, you would go to visit...

Right, uncle and aunt in Amsterdam.

And that--no piano playing on the, on the Sabbath.

No, because the other ones were there. The other brother, the younger brother and his wife, they were very Orthodox.

Ah, right.

My--the sister from my father...

Right. I was just, I was just kidding...

was more conservative. So she said, "Miriam, play. Please play and sing." But when they knock on the door because there was no ringing on Shabbos...


stop and close it, because you know Tante Hella and Uncle uh, Albert and the children may not do it, so don't do it.

All right. So now you're seventeen, you're taking lessons again, piano lessons and...

Well, I was taking right after the war, because my mutter always said--my mother always said, "You have to learn, you have to learn and everything you have to learn. And if you don't learn, you'll be uh, dumb and you are not dumb and you can uh, you have to learn Hebrew, you have to learn--and you can sing and you play the piano, so play." And my mother was singing, my sister was playing piano. My brother-in-law paid everything for, for my education and everything. That was never a discussion, but he was always, but you have to learn. And he was right, so I didn't go in a discussion, but my mind was not really concentrated on the work because I um, I didn't understand what I was doing. And that was the trouble.


And that was not only with me, that was with m...more people, but we'd never discuss it because there were no Jewish people--uh, girls and boys to discuss that in Amersfoort.


And when I came to the private school, that helped me a lot.

The Montessori school?

Yes. And I was not the--I came over my depression. I was not crying uh, in my room or something. Everything was okay. It, it took a little while...


but it was fine. And uh, well, I went to dancing lesson and I did uh, uh, we had parties and uh, so everything was uh, was fine.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn