Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Weiss - August 9, 1995

Religious Life

In your home, I assume you celebrated the Sabbath?

Well, we looked forward for Sabbath.

What was Friday night like?

Friday, Friday, the day Friday you went out in that little town on the streets, you could see that Shabbos is coming. You could see it. Ah, ah, people went to the store, people, uh, they were cooking and, and, and getting ready. Ah, ah, dressed up and it was ever a holiday, looking forward for many reasons. To go Friday night to Shul, you see your friends there, and you seen everybody dressed up. It was very, very nice. You seen the Rabbi and everybody was happy. Everybody was happy. And then you went home. Now you went home, your mother was home in her white apron, the candles was lit, the rooms were nice and clean, and you could see something magic, magic happening about Shabbos.

Tell me more.

Well, then naturally Saturday morning, Saturday morning you went to Shul. And I would say 95% was in Shul every Saturday morning. And ah, ah, the payes, it was, it was something you look forward, for, for, forwards toward. And, uh it just, magic happened. The whole week nobody really worried on Shabbos, whatever it was, it was Shabbos. We ate, we sang the zemirot and in the afternoon we went to Shul again, and ah, it was, it was a magic day.

Did the rest of your family come, other members of your family come to your house for Shabbos dinner?

Well, well, we had my grandfather and grandmother living in town and, uh, in later year we moved into one house because my grandmother, my Bobe was very sick. She could not see, she was blind in her eyes, and she could not see. She didn't even knew how old she is. When they asked her, she said all the time, "a hundred." And people liked her, people liked to talked to her because she was, I think, the oldest person in town and ah, and I, I, you know, I was a child then but I remember everybody when they see her, they talk to her. But she went very little on the streets, she was bedridden and ah, ah, and very, very sick. People don't, uh, doctors didn't know what's wrong with her.

And your mother took care of her...when she was...?

Oh yes, at home, at home really, we didn't have many uh, homes for the aged when they got old. My mother took care of her and she needed care, she needed care. And our meals wasn't that good but she did, never heard any complaints ah, that she worked a lot or whatever. And that was the rule of the thumb in Europe, to take care on the parents, grandparents and so forth.

Tell me a little bit about what you remember about your mother.

Well, ah...what I remember about my mother. I can tell you one thing, I miss her a lot. I still miss her a lot. It's fifty years over and there is a saying that time heals. Time heals, a tragedy happens, time heals. I can tell you today after fifty years, somehow, as the years go by, I miss her more. I miss my family more. I miss my hometown more. I miss my Rabbi more. And I am wondering now that I am a little bit more mature, how could this happen. Why did it happen! How in the world could something like this happen and I'm more, even bitter that how could the free countries allowed this. That something like this, this is the biggest destruction, horrible, of human beings, they plain human beings and what they did and how they did it. It's, it's, it's I just...cannot even believe it, that there are people so much, with so much hate and for one reason. There was only one reason this happened; because they were Jews, nothing else. They weren't involved in politics, they really didn't care if we under the Czech Regime, it was Czech and the Hungarians came in. It was Hungary. We didn't protest it, we didn't dare, it was Hungary. We accept that we were there and we accepted it. We couldn't to ah, overthrow a government or anything and that's, that's, that's, that's the tragic and the word tragic I don't think is strong enough. It's, it's, I don't think there was a word to describe to take a human being when my mother, in 1944, she was forty-three years old. I'm seventy-one today. She was forty-three years old. And they take her, they took her, they took her. And a friend of mine told me she seen her going in to the gas chamber. [long silence]

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