Emanuel Tanay - March 16, 1987

Could you tell me your name, please and where were you born?

My name is Emanuel Tanay and I was born in Vilna, which at that time when I was born wasn't Poland, it was Russia when my mother was born and it was Lithuania when my mother went to secondary school and it was Lithuania, capitol of Lithuania Republic now, but it was Poland when I was born.

Were you raised in Vilna?

No, I, my parents who were dentists, moved to a small community just south of Kraków called Miechow and that's where we lived throughout my childhood and that's where I was in 1939 when Poland was attacked by Germany at the outbreak of the war, and I remained there until I went into, under false papers, but I was in the ghetto, you know there were various stages and when a ghetto was formed I was in Miechow in the ghetto.

What do you remember about your life in Miechow before the war started?

The life for Jews in a small town was really quite different depending on, I don't know what else to call it, but your socioeconomic status. Most Jews in small towns were rather poor and quite orthodox, quite separated from the Polish population, from the Polish culture. There was a handful of people like in our town who were, who were professionals like my parents, I think there were probably four in our town. Four families like that. So, that's a very important aspect of the Jewish experience in small towns. And that would have been true even in the larger towns of Poland.

Now, how large was your family?

My family was very large both on the size of my, on the side of my mother and my father. My father's family was a very well known Rabbinical family, in fact there is a well known, I guess you would call it an equivalent almost of a saint, Tsadík, the Radoszyce Rov was my great, great grandfather and they all lived around Kielce which was the capitol of the Province Województwo in Polish. My mother came from Vilna and there was and her maiden name was Kovarsky and that was a very large family of Kovarskys in Vilna. So these two, uh, two large families certainly are in my childhood memories.

So you had aunts, uncles and cousins...?

There were seven, my mother had seven siblings and my father had six siblings and two sisters of my father emigrated just before the war, one of them, the other one a long time before to Australia and they survived. My mother had three sisters who survived, which is pretty unusual, two of them survived the massacre of Jews in Vilna and one of them survived in Forest as a partisan, Clara Kovarsky and the other one, Sonya, survived in the infamous camp Stutthof, which is again quite unusual for two women to have, to have survived. Another sister of my mother's um, survived in, in, in Israel, they were in a, they went to Israel in the late 20's one of them and there was another one that went there in the early 30's.

Um, what about your immediate family?

My immediate family consisted of my parents and a five-year younger sister and myself. They, my mother my sister and I did survive, my father was killed in the camp Płaszów in Kraków, in fact in contrast to so many others, I know exactly how my father was killed and by whom. That was described to me uh, was the manner of death for so many other survivors of their loved ones is pretty anonymous, but in my case, I know that Amon Goeth was the one who executed my father for a specific type of an event that had occurred.

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