Selected Topic

402 results

elvira kohn

I attended public school, the regular elementary and high school in Vinkovci. There was no Jewish school. There were pupils of all kinds of religions and nationalities in this school and my friends were Jews and non- Jews alike. In my class in particular, there were 30 pupils, of which 13 were Jews, around 10 Eastern Orthodox because there were many Serb villages around Vinkovci, and the rest were Catholics and maybe some Evangelic.

Although there was no Jewish school, there was Jewish religious instruction, which was obligatory. Every Sunday we had religious classes and received grades; it was part of the school curriculum. We had a religious instructor whose name was Pollak. He taught us Hebrew, the Talmud, the Torah, some Jewish history and traditions.

On Saturdays we didn't have to attend classes in school, but we had to go to the synagogue. We also had to obtain a written statement signed by Rabbi Frankfurter saying that we were at the service on Saturday morning, and we had to bring this statement to school. It was like a confirmation that we were in the synagogue instead of being in class.
See text in interview

baby pisetskaya

My sister and I studied in a secondary school. My sister studied French and I studied German at school. We also passed our tests for GTO [ready for labor and defense] and 'Voroshylov [17] rifle shooter' badges. I attended an artistic embroidery club and wrote poems. I was a pioneer and attended a club in the House of Pioneers. I sang with a string orchestra. I liked singing and got invitations to sing on the radio and in concerts. Our string orchestra gave concerts at kolkhozes and factories. I sang songs from the repertory of Claudia Shulzhenko.
See text in interview
I went to a Ukrainian school in the center of town in 1930 at the age of six. I became a Young Octobrist [13] at this school.
See text in interview
My father's youngest sister Chaya was born in 1919. She finished a lower secondary school in Odessa.
See text in interview

Jankiel Kulawiec

When I was in the 5th grade, because of the increasing financial problems at home, I had to quit school and go out to work permanently.
See text in interview
And at school among the children we tended to co-exist in peace; we played football together and so on. Only at our desks did we sit separately, Jews and Poles separately, I remember that.

In the 1st and 2nd and 3rd grades I don't remember, perhaps we did sit together, but in the higher grades Jewish and Polish children definitely didn't sit together. There were four rows of desks, and the two on the left were for Jewish children - boys and girls separately - and the two on the right for non-Jewish children. I don't know whether somebody ordered it to be like that, or if it was initiated by children - that's just the way it was. It didn't stop us being friends with the Polish children. I had a friend, Kazik Przykulski, we were in the same class. So during lessons we sat apart but after school we walked home together.

My sisters and brothers went to the same elementary school. I was the eldest.
See text in interview
Later on, when I was seven, I went to the Polish elementary school. There, I remember, I liked geography most. I was good at drawing maps and liked studying that. And the worst thing was math.
See text in interview

Mico Alvo

The school was a 'préparatoire,' which means preparatory and which is what we now call elementary school. I went there until the third grade. We had small tables with small chairs where we would all sit. We had a French teacher who was specialized in small children. I remember her, her name was Madame Doze. She was very competent with young children. How she managed to hold our interest and teach us things in there for so many hours, I don't know.

All the lessons were being held in French. There were about twenty of us in a class, boys and girls, and we had the same teacher for all the different subjects. In the beginning when we were all little and until the third grade, we would have classes from 9 in the morning until 12 or 1 in the afternoon, or something like that, I don't remember the exact time schedule.

We would have classes on many different subjects, as they do in elementary schools. To learn the language, the letters and the alphabet, they would ask us to write whole pages with 'a' or 'b', or numbers. They didn't teach us Judeo-Spanish at all.

The French school wasn't a religious one. There was no Hebrew or religion being taught. We didn't have a morning prayer; the first time that we had a morning prayer was when I went to Schina's School. Most of my classmates were Jews. Out of the twenty students, only four or five were not Jews.
See text in interview
Didi went to the YMCA kindergarten, because it was opposite our shop's warehouse. Mari would take her there in the morning and the employee from the shop would go and pick her up in the afternoon. She would take her to the warehouse and in the afternoon, after I shut the shop, I would go and pick her up from there.

Later on we took her to school. The first school that she went to was the Pedagogiki Academia [the school of the Teachers' Academy]. It would have been better if she had gone to the Rigas Feraios School, because it was a better school. But the Pedagogiki Academia was regarded then as the best school and there would be a draw to get in. While we had registered her at the Rigas Feraios, they rang us and said, 'You know, you have been drawn and you can send you daughter here.' She had a great time there but she would have got a better education in Rigas Feraios. Rigas Feraios was then regarded as the best school.

We had a piece of land right next to the sea, opposite the Military Academy. It was called the Varlamidis land. I had planted around 1000 fruit- bearing trees there. I would come back home around 2pm and the shop reopened at 5pm, so I had some time in between to go to the field. Many times she would tell me, 'Take me with you, daddy.' And because she didn't have to study all that much then, I would take her with me.

Didi went to the Calamarie high school [87]. We wanted her to learn French. The gymnasium at the time was for girls only. She was an average student and she needed a little push, especially in mathematics. Until the Lyceum she studied on her own. Didi was of the generation that had to take exams to enter the gymnasium. To get into Lyceum again she had to take exams. Thankfully, she passed her exams.

We had really good relationships with the teachers, too. In the end though, in the last two years of school, the mathematician would come to our house and give her some private tutoring. She was a smart girl though, because later on she was working for an airline company and she excelled in computers.
See text in interview

Rafael Genis

I went to school at the age of seven. The school was combined with cheder in our town. It was located near a large synagogue. We were taught prayers and compulsory subjects. I didn't enjoy studying at the school because our teachers were very strict. We were taught by two men - Balek and Shreder - who were focused on discipline and at times used a metal ruler. I was a good student, especially in Math.
See text in interview

Krystyna Budnicka

I stayed with the Grey Nuns for a very long time, up to my grammar school graduation, that is, until 1952. I finished elementary school in 1948 and had to choose a secondary school. I very much wanted to go to the grammar school run by the Nazarene Sisters, but the nuns said that I shouldn't, because I would be ruining my chances of a career. It was at the height of the Stalinist period and a church education was frowned upon. But I insisted. And the nuns were right - later on I had trouble getting a job. At school I was different, and didn't fit in. Not because I was Jewish, but because I was an orphan. The girls who went to that school were from well- off families. They brought white bread rolls with ham, while I had black bread and jam or dripping. I really never felt different because of my Jewishness. That was never an issue, it was something we never talked about - not because I concealed the fact, but because it just wasn't a topic that we discussed.
See text in interview
I stayed there until I was six, when I started school. The school was located on Barokowa Street, next to Krasinski Park, and it was a Jewish school with instruction in Polish. There was a religious studies class, and I remember a gentleman who was probably grade tutor and wore a smock frock and oversleeves; he must have taught all the subjects. I remember a handbook for the religious studies class, it was called Little Biblical History. I don't recall whether only girls or both girls and boys studied at this school. I was there for just one school year.
See text in interview

Janina Duda

I started going to school when I was six years old. The school was Gutman’s gymnasium [lyceum] in Bialystok. I even remember how we exercised standing on the desks. And one girl peed on that desk, she couldn’t stand it, we were laughing so hard. This school system looked like this then [in the 1920s]: a sub-elementary level, then elementary, then eight grades of gymnasium and the 8th one was the one when you took final exams. So there were ten years of schooling in total before the final exams. Then, in the 1930s, this system was changed, but it’s hard for me to say what it looked like later. So when we came to Lublin there was this issue of what to do with my education. I was then ten or eleven years old. It was in the middle of the school year, so probably I’d have to repeat a grade, I don’t remember which one, 2nd or 3rd grade of gymnasium.

Well, and you’d have to pay for that. So it was decided that I’d go to a public school. And I went to a school, whose principal was Mrs. Mandelkernowa. It was a very good school, on Lubartowska Street. When I graduated from this school I went to a humanities gymnasium in Lublin. It was also a gymnasium, where nothing was taught about Jewry. There were public gymnasia in Lublin, government officials, officers sent their children there. Wealthier people, who could afford to pay, rather wealthy. Jews also attended these gymnasia, but there were very few. These were also private gymnasia, Polish ones, and many Jews attended them, for example Czarniecka’s gymnasium or Arciszowa’s gymnasium for girls, Staszic for boys. And there were two Jewish gymnasia [in Lublin]: Szperowa’s, where my sister went, and the humanities gymnasium which was operated by some Jewish association, it wasn’t a private school, so it was less expensive.

I studied a lot of Latin then, a lot of history, the standards were indeed quite high. I also took French then. It was an obligatory foreign language and, I have to say, these basics which I learned at school were very solid, I can still speak French fluently. But I didn’t get my diploma then. Father was unemployed, you then had to pay for tutors, to be well prepared for the finals. So I decided: I can’t take the finals, because I don’t have enough money. I told Mother and Father. Especially Father was very saddened. He used to say, ‘My children, my daughters, what can I leave you but an education.’ At that time you wouldn’t say ‘Dad’, but ‘Papa’. So I would answer, ‘Papa, but all I do is sit on the other side of the door [the pupil that could not participate in the lessons without paying tuition sat in the hallway, on the other side of the classroom door, where she could at least hear the lessons], you have to pay for everything and you don’t have the money for that.’ And I explained, ‘I will still have time to study if I want to.
See text in interview
  • loading ...