Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Cyla Wiener - July 13, 1992

Outbreak of War

Did anyone in the 1930's, did people in your house talk about Hitler? Did you know what was going on in Germany?

No. No. This was, you see, I'll never forget one evening, you know, really. They were talking, this was in '38, I imagine, '38, I was, I was icing a pudding. My brother and I have an uncle, I told you, who worked here in America and came back so, so, I never forget. We were talking about the world and everything will be fine, but Hitler was on already and maybe better there will be a war and this and all the politics, you know. My mother, I'll never forget her, her house, she said to us, "Kinderlach, Kinderlach...[Yiddish]", This is what my mother used to say. She was right then, but she was always scared uh, you know. She got lost much during the first war. She was afraid and then she had so many sons and grandchildren that she was afraid for the war.

Tell me again, what did she say?

The children, the children, how long is not a war do we live. This is what, this is what she used to say to us. She always was afraid of the war. I'll never forget when the war broke out. It was just terrible, really just terrible, and she got so scared she got sick and she couldn't, she couldn't, what's for her was terrible. She was afraid for, for...that they have to go to war, you know. It started with Germany and everything. But the, this didn't come two days in a row, one of my brother went to the army, you know, but everything came so suddenly, suddenly. The Germans attacked Kraków, Warsaw and Kraków, but Kraków they didn't do damage. They didn't want to do damage to Krakow. The Hitler, this is especially not to bomb Kraków, you know, really. I went and then they, when Germans walked into the Kraków and took over Kraków, it was Friday. September, the day I don't remember, but it was September...


I don't know. I cannot remember the day, but it was on Friday and my brother who lives in Shiveatsz, was already in Kraków with his children, you know. He was staying with my mother's house, you know, and my father's apartment with his children he came. But my mother, and me, took me and we went to a special place, you know, where the Jewish people used to buy things, Kosher meat and fish and everything. And I went with my mother, you know, and my mother bought fish, bought chickens and everything. We came, my mother start to cook, you know, and uh...and it, it was terrible. The German, the first German we saw, when they approached Kraków, they came to the place where they, where they....platz was, we called this platz, I don't know, the market, you know. The market where they had fish and ???? It was just, felt terrible when I saw a German officer, when I ????? but he, he, I...I got so scared, I start to cry, and my mother says, "Don't cry, don't mind, don't worry, they will do nothing to you." you know. But the army, the army....


Wehrmacht, the Wehrmacht was not so bad. They were saying, one, even I heard one say will do nothing to you, but the others who will come after that, they will do. We were warned. This what she said happens, you know. The other that come after, that what she said. Yeah, we came back and we start to, my mother used to make Shabbas. We were helping her and everything, and it was very bad. Everybody was upset. Everybody was afraid, you know. And it was just terrible. We were thinking...I was married already, you know. I used to live, maybe half hour from my mother, and I had a nice apartment, you know. I was already two years married. Cyla Wiener - July 13, 1992 - After the Germans Arrived

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