Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sidy Weiss - January 7, 1987

Life Before the War

Well, take your time, there's no hurry. Do you remember the school? Was it--it wasn't a Jewish school? Was it a Jew...

No, it wasn't a Jewish school.

Public school?

It was a public school, yes, and uh, we had to go into the, we had to go into the city for education, and I finished four grades of education over there. ???

Just before gymnasium.

I finished the--how do you call that? I finished the four ???

Ah, so you were just ready to go to gymnasium.


Yeah. Um, and your brothers and sisters, would--did they also go to school with you? Same school?

The older sister went in the city to school. And the younger uh. sister, she was only six-years-old...

She didn't start.

...and then it happened, she didn't start at no school.

Um, [pause] your father, he went to shul on, on Shabbos? Did the whole family go to shul?

My father and my mother used to go to shul together. And the, and the children--how you call that? The children...

Did you take care of the house? Did you get the house ready? Do you remember what you used to eat on Shabbos?

Yeah we had fish and we had uh, how you called it? We had fish and we had uh, soup and noodles, and uh...

Okay, I am going to stop it for a second. Really--I guess what I'd like to know is if you feel that you--your childhood was a happy childhood, and it was, it was--was it a good life before the war?

We had a good life yes, we had a good life.

Do you have any fond memories of that time? What were some things you remember that you--that sort, sort of sticks out in your mind? Um, things you used to do? Did you like school?

I enjoyed the school very much. I was going in how you called it...

The ??? school. Um, was your father at home? Was his business at home?


So he was home on a regular basis. Uh, and your mother? What--she took care of the house?

And she was to going to the--how do you call it? She was to going to the...

Into the business. Was it a store?

It was a general store.

Did he sell tobacco too? Did he have a tobacco license? [pause] Do you remember? Was your father a veteran? Did he, did he fight in the First World War?


Uh, for the Habsburgs. Is that right? For the Austrians? [pause] He fought in that army. Did he ever tell you stories about the First World War?


Do you remember any of those?

Yeah, I remember.

What did he used to tell you about the war?

He always said to me, that uh, how you call it? "I was uh, I was shot by the First World War."

Oh, he was wounded?

He was wounded in the First World War and then he was telling me that uh, he was telling me that, uh...

Do you want me to stop?


[interruption in interview]

Friday night at the house, we were singing by the table and we had zemirot.

Do you remember the song?

Shir ha-Shirim.

Did you sing it, did you--when you came to the United States and you had your own family, did you do the same thing? Did you--did your family sit for zemirot?


No? We don't either. Um, what kinds of things did you do as a young girl? Was there a Yiddish theatre--did you go to a Yiddish theatre? Um, for recreation. You had, you had--did you have non-Jewish friends? Any non-Jewish friends?

Husband: Oh, sure. You, you, you had over there, because you were only with the girls. Not the Yiddish.

Non-Jewish friends. From school?

Husband: Sure, she knows.

So what did you do, did you um, go to movies together? Did you--what was it, what was it like for a young girl?

In the town?

In the town.

Well, we used to play together, sitting--getting together, and we were, we were--how you call it? Playing together and we were, uh...

Do you remember any of the names of your friends? Non-Jewish friends?

??? I don't know what happened.

Husband: Sidy, don't get excited. What he talking about ??? The gentleman is asking you when you were with the girls, when you were going to school or to play. Not Jewish. The names. You know plenty.

No, that was, that was no difference, how you call that? Between--it was no difference and there's no difference over here. I don't think so any difference.

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