Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Regina Cohen - April 18, 1982

Life at Beginning of War

After 1939 things had changed drastically for you.

They, they were uh, they probably were changing a little bit prior to that too. Because that si...that area of the country was being uh, excuse me, sort of tossed about between the walls. Who is going to get it, this Czechoslovakian are going to maintain it, or is Ukrainian going to get it, or Hung...Hungary took it.


And then um, I don't think anybody uh, you've got to realize, a child of nine, what I perceived, what I could see at that time, uh, it's so much easy to speak hindsight.


Because um, like I'm saying, the, the conditions uh, we were pleased, we would have been pleased to stay there and be left living. I would have dug ditches the rest of my life if I thought that uh, my family would have been there. Never mind being uh, socially in a better position. But as it was um, from the age of nine--before, just a little before that--I remember things just going haphazard drastically. Um, never--my father was uh, taken into military. Before, before we even realized what was happening Jews were um, Jewish men were demobilized and taken into labor camp. Um, restrictions began uh, for Jews for shopping--where to shop. Um, school, school--the Hebrew schools shut down. Any public school for Jewish children closed up. And we were given certain areas to go to school for, say, a half of days, or three hours a day. But not mixed amongst Gentile children. All of the Jewish children were all, always separated and given a lesser--uh, it, it, it's almost like um, a token uh, education. Very cruel teachers. Half the time children didn't want to spend the time in school because the boys used to be beaten terribly uh, by some of those teachers. They were cruel. Uh, if you opened your mouth saying anything there, you'd be called a, a dirty Jew or a yidde, and uh, you took, you accepted. And that's what bothers me. The accepting of it. Continually giving up more and more and more and more. And like I'm saying, I'm sure our parents were as smart as I am. But there was no other, other, other place to go. I mean, you just had to make the best of it. Let's face it, there weren't too many countries that were helping us or wanting us. So we, we stayed and we took and we did without. Uh...

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