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Irena Wygodzka with her friends Mala Lobel and Hanka Urbach

In this picture I’m in Kosciuszki Park in Katowice with my friends: Mala Lobel (first from right) and Hanka Urbach (first from left). The picture was taken in the late 1930s.

I had several friends at school: there was Mala Lobel, Hanka Urbach, there was Rutka Reichman, Mina Schif, Hela Hass. All of us, with the exception of Mina, were in love with this boy from our class. His name was Natan Rozenzweig.

Irena Wygodzka with her father Herman Beitner

This is a picture of me with my father Herman Beitner. It was taken in the late 1930s in Katowice, where we were living.

Father was calm, he was good, not talkative, very liberal towards his children, towards the world. He had blond hair, blue eyes. He had a very friendly face.

He wore a suit. He had to dress properly, because he went to courts, for those hearings. He really liked photography. He took pictures whenever he could.

Irena Wygodzka with her friends in Kosciuszki Park in Katowice

In this picture I’ m in Kosciuszki Park with my friends: Mina Schif (first from right), Mala Lobel and Rutka Reichman (first from left). I am the first second one from the right. This picture was taken in the late 1930s.

I had several friends at school: there was Mala Lobel, Hanka Urbach, there was Rutka Reichman, Mina Schif, Hela Hass. All of us, with the exception of Mina, were in love with this boy from our class. His name was Natan Rozenzweig.

Irena Wygodzka in her gymnasium uniform

This is a picture of me taken in our house in Katowice. It was taken in the late 1930s. I am wearing my gymnasium uniform and I started attending gymnasium in 1936. So I was a teenager then.

I didn't date. I didn't fall in love easily, well, even if I did, it was platonic. There was this Moniek Fajner. He was from Bedzin. His father used to come to Katowice, I knew him.

Irena Wygodzka on vacation in Zakopane

This is a picture of me on holiday in Zakopane, a resort in the Polish mountains. You can also see my father in the photo. It was taken in the 1930s.

Almost every year we'd go on vacation. We'd leave the city for at least a month, or two. We'd take all our stuff. We'd go near Katowice, to Bystra, to Cyganski Las, sometimes to Rabka, always to southern Poland, Silesia.

I never went to the seaside before the war. Our more distant family would go with us, too, and we'd spend time there together. We'd rent cottages from peasants.

Irena Wygodzka in her Father’s home office

This is a picture of me, taken in my father’s office in our house in Katowice. It was taken in the late 1930s.

In Katowice, Father was a real estate manager. Private owners would ask him to manage their tenement houses.

Probably at first Father was only managing one or two houses, for example the building at 10 Slowackiego Street, which belonged to father's brothers Tobiasz and Chaim.

Later the owners started trusting him more and all in all he had 14 buildings in his care.

Irena Wygodzka with her friend Mala Lobel in gymnasium uniform

This is a picture of me with my friend from school, Mala Lobel. I am on the right and Mala is on the left. This picture was taken in 1938, we are both wearing school uniforms.

I started attending gymnasium when I was 14 years old. It was a vocational gymnasium of the Polish Women's Association in Katowice. An all girls' school.

We learned sewing, corsetry. I didn't want to work in that profession, but my parents sent me there. Because I wasn't such a great student they sent me to a vocational school, so I'd learn a trade.

Irena Wygodzka with Mrs. Hass and Mr. Lew

This is a picture of me, Irena Wygodzka, with some acquaintances, taken in Zakopane in the 1930s.

In the picture I am standing next to Mrs. Hass - I don’t a her first name - the mother of my friend, Hela Hass and with Mr. Lew - I don’t remember his family name - who took care of our Zionist youth organization Akiba.

Most of my friends were in Akiba - a Zionist youth organization, so I also joined it. I was in touch with my girlfriends for many years. My best friend Hela Hass was in Siberia during the war.

Irena Wygodzka with her parents and sister on vacation

This is a picture of my family on vacation in Naleczow in the 1930s. There’s my mother Bajla Beitner on the left, my father and the two of us, daughters, Zosia and I.

They loved each other, Father and Mother, yes, I remember this. They were very gentle with each other. But Mother felt that Father wasn't energetic enough with us, or with the work he was doing.

Zosia Laks and Jadwiga Mendelson in their prewar home

This is a picture of my two sisters: Zosia and Jadzia (Jadwiga). They were born in 1928 and 1933, respectively, so this picture was probably taken around 1935, in our prewar home in Katowice.

Zosia was very close to Natan, our brother. She adored him and he was nice to her, good and kind. Not like I was to her. I remember that I once took her hand and put it on a hot light bulb. Zosia annoyed me, because I had to take her everywhere with me.

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