Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Cyla Wiener - July 13, 1992

Religious Life

Was your family religious?

Umm? Yes. My father, we were like orthodox Jews, you know. Yea, also my father wore a beard, my mother was wearing a wig, you know. But we were not fanatics of, you understand orthodox, you know. Nice Shabbat, Shabbat Friday night, beautiful.

Tell me what it was like?

Yeah. My all brothers used to come and Saturday everybody used to come to us. We make cholent, you know.

On Saturday?

Yeah. You know what it is?

Sure. Tell me about Friday night.

Friday night was a beautiful. My brother used to come, my mother used to make fish, you know. Gefilte fish, of cod, you know. And it was beautiful with the kiddush, with the bread, it was really...you can't describe it, you never can forget this. And the holidays were beautiful too. Especially the holiday, Sukkos, beautiful holiday, beautiful. I would uh, you know, the decorator of the Sukkoh, we always do the Sukkoh, you know, downstairs, we were living like on the third floor, you know.

In an apartment building?

Yeah, in an apartment. No houses like here in Kraków, you know. Apartments.

Were there a lot of Jews in the buildings?

Jews, only Jews around. Only the janitor was uh...you know [not Jewish]. My door...in our Sukkoh was always beautiful. I was the decorator, I paint and decoration, everything and it was a beautiful holiday. Running up and down with you know, really beautiful. And the same, Passover was beautiful, beautiful, we were very happy but Passover uh-huh, [laughs] for Passover we got new shoes and new dresses, and everybody look at...and all the neighbors' children together who shoes are nice anymore, dress are nice. Was really, we had a lot of fun. We were not rich or nothing, like we just make a living and life was very hard. We couldn't afford two pair of shoes or dresses or something, but we were happy with children, we...we, the parents had so much love, you know around, you were surrounded with love and everything and really the childhood was beautiful. Nice and beautiful. To, to this day I feel this.

You still carry it with you.

You carry the love, what I have, that's right. As though you're all children. We didn't know what it mean to be spoiled. [laughs] You know...

Tell me about a Pesach Seder, how many people would show up...

Pesach? Pesach, Pesach, it was beautiful. The Seder, oh just beautiful. There was maybe 14, 15 people sometimes more by the time...and the Seder was, you know, a very long, you know, everything was tradition, and I was always afraid to open the door [laughs] for many years. I was afraid, you know, but it was beautiful, really beautiful. My mother was the best cook, really. She make everything so beautiful, you can imagine the Passover when my brother went to the Shul, when they coming back, how many...my mother used to make the matzo brie and (bubeleh?) and you wouldn't even believe, you know. I was always helping her, you know. Always helping her. I had a wonderful mother, wonderful.

Tell me more about her.


Tell me more about your mother.



My mother was such a good...they were calling her tsadéket, really. You know what tsadéket is? Tsadéket is something very good. Very...very fine, you know, and very smart, you know. She used to know everything what was going on and when somebody was sick, they were coming to her all my, my...the neighbors, the neighbors were coming when their child was sick or something like that. Everybody...when somebody was fighting, the children were, they used to come for my mother. My mother went up and walk and make all this shuller, you know. She was really wonderful. A wonderful mother. She would listen, all my brothers who come with their problems, and she would listen to everybody. She has patience to listen. And always explain, really. And my father was a very hard worker, very. And you know about our family back then, it was not so easy to make a living, you know, but he did and he tried, he tried the best. So my brothers. Some of my brothers got married and they were very well off, you know, you know.

They all lived in Kraków?

All...no, one of my brothers lived in, Fred's father lived in Ozarow, so, you know, not far from us. But for the holidays, they used to come, and one brother was living in Shiveatsz, you know. He has that store, a very good, he has that store, you know.

Also not far?

With everything, you know.

Close by?

Yeah. Everything, everything. He was very well off, very wealthy. He has four daughters and one son. Cyla Wiener - July 13, 1992 - Recreation

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