Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Mark Webber - December 13, 2004


Overall, would you say you had a happy childhood with, with your family in Pułtusk?

I would say life was very uh, happy, even though, for the most part, the public--the Jewish public, was impoverished. But everything centered around culture. Uh, books, and even uh, for instance, my sisters, they would get together and discuss with some friends uh, world uh, books--famous books from famous writers. They had games, even, about them of uh, guessing uh, who the author is of this book and of that book. And um, a lot of Jewish culture was kind of--was theater playing almost every week--not that we had one um, domestic theater from uh, people from Detroit, they were coming in uh, entertainers, and movies. And a lot of uh, contact uh, walking on the streets especially on the, on the Shabbat.

Did you go to movies when you were a kid?

I remember only uh, one movie or so, I think was Tarzan or something like this, along with the Sonia Henie ice skating. And also when the uh, Polish president, Piłsudski, died, a couple years or so before the outbreak of the war, they were showing in the movie houses--there were two movie houses, I think, in our town uh, constant uh, pictures of uh, his uh, funeral.

You, you knew who he was?

Oh yes, he was actually um, the Jewish people supported him very strongly, and I remember my father was uh, telling us at times--the place where we lived we rented from a Gentile, a Polish Gentile and uh, he came in once uh, I don't know, to collect uh, rent or whatever. And most every Jewish home had hanging a picture of Piłsudski on a wall. And, and, and, and my father had the picture hanging, and this man went and pulled off the picture off the wall, and threw it on the floor, and stepped all over him. And he says, "Let them kill this guy." So, that's another, another moment of some uh, showing some anti-Semitism.

So there must have been some deeper depression when he um, when he died.

Yes, it was a sad moment in Jewish life, because uh, the people--the Jewish people felt a little bit more protected with him being at the head of the government. But um, Poland was just very anti-Semitic in general.

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