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Magdalena Berger

My parents, and then my father and stepmother, socialized almost
exclusively with Jews. I cannot recall them having any non-Jewish friends.
But none of them socialized much. It was not the custom for Jews to go to
bars. Those who did were put on an informal community blacklist. When they
went out, many went to one particular pastry shop in Sombor. My parents
usually celebrated the secular New Year at home with us children. Only one
year, 1940-41, was I allowed to celebrate the New Year at a friend's house.

Sombor was not a large Jewish community. Most of the 1,000 Jews that lived
in the town belonged to the Neolog (Conservative) community. There were
some Orthodox Jews but they were a minority and were in general much poorer
than the other Jews. They did not have a big synagogue, only a few
shtiebls.

There was a large Neolog synagogue in the center of Sombor, close to our
house, where we were members. I would go to the synagogue with my aunt and
grandmother, and we sat in our permanent seats, on the left side near the
ark. From there I could see my father sitting in the men's section. The
service was traditional and all in Hebrew and the congregation could follow
and participate. During the Torah reading the cantor would call out in
German (or maybe it was Yiddish, I'm not sure): "Who has a contribution for
the chevra kadishah?
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rena michalowska

I went to school in 1936. I guess there was only a Polish school in Tysmienica. I think it had 6 grades. I remember only girls in my class, so there must have been a parallel one for the boys. Or maybe the whole school was for girls, for there was another building. That's all submerged as in a fog. One-story building, without a gym, only some beaten dirt. There were not more than twenty of us in one class: Polish, Jewish, Ukrainian. I think that maybe the Ukrainian children took religion classes at the Orthodox Church and the Jewish children went to the Synagogue. I didn't. About two weeks into the first grade, the girl who was placed at the same desk with me by the teacher, raised her had and said, 'Ma-am, my mother wants me to sit with someone else, not with Reginka [diminutive from Regina], because Reginka is Jewish.' So the teacher moved her somewhere else and I sat with another 'Jewish' girl. I remember another girl from school, Wanda. She was Polish and her family was one of the richest in town. Her father had a large workshop in which he employed people making embroidered sheepskin coats. Wanda found me after the war.
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The street language was Polish-Yiddish, I think. Among the inhabitants of Tysmienica was a colony of Armenians; that was quite exotic. The group was big enough to have their own church. Maybe people came to that church from all the small towns and villages around Tysmienica? There were also two Orthodox churches - one in the town square the other basically outside of town - and a Roman Catholic church.
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Teofila Silberring

Downstairs in our house there was a bar [restaurant]. It was run by this Orthodox Jew, with a beard. He was very nice. He made the aspic that I liked so much, and to go with it he baked this special, round, sugar- coated... I don't know what it was, not cake, not bread. He had crowds on Saturdays.
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Opposite our house was Tempel Synagogue [the most recent of the synagogues in Kazimierz (1860), a reform synagogue. The rabbi there was Ozjasz Thon (1870-1936), an eminent Zionist and deputy to the Polish Sejm]. Before the war it was a reform synagogue, for wealthier people, who would come in cars and carriages. An orthodox Jew wouldn't have gone in there. My parents went to Tempel at every holiday, definitely. And sometimes, when Father went with Mother on a Saturday, they would take me. Tempel was beautiful. The men were downstairs and the women upstairs, and I used to go up to Mom up these stairs. There was a barrier there, and you looked down, what the men were doing, how they prayed. That all delighted me. I liked going, I remember that too.
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My husband, Adam Silberring, is a chemical engineer. He was born in Bochnia in 1921, the last year to graduate from high school before the war. His was a very assimilated family. His father, Samuel, owned a large printing press and a house. He even used to drive around on business on Saturdays, he said, and the orthodox Jews used to throw stones at him. He didn't give his sons a Hebrew education. He was a believer, because even after the war he used to go to the synagogue at New Year, but he didn't celebrate all the holidays. He died in 1973. His [Adam's] mother's name was Rozalia; she perished during the war. My husband has a brother, Ludwik, born in 1925. Both he and his brother studied at the Silesia Polytechnic in Wroclaw. Ludwik lives in Switzerland, he's a professor and has two children. We're not in touch with him.
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tomasz miedzinski

There were many homes like ours at that time. Granddad Berl, the shammash, wasn't an Orthodox Jew either. There were no Orthodox Jews in our family. Of course we observed the holidays, every Saturday. Granddad Awrum would put his prayer shawl on then.
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In Horodenka there was a synagogue, which it took many years to build, one of the most beautiful in southern Galicia. It was finished sometime in the mid-1930s, and had a beautiful portal. It could hold several hundred people easily. There were few Hasidim in the town, but there were Orthodox Jews, and there was their rov, with sidelocks, and he wore the streimel. They prayed in the large synagogue.
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Ljudevit Blumenberg

My father must have been educated for several reasons. First because he worked as a cantor and I'm sure that he must have finished some school for doing so. I read letters that he wrote to my mother so he was literate. I know he sang excellently and played the piano. He was well-rounded and came from a family that took care of his schooling and upbringing. He was very religious. As far as I remember, half of his family was Orthodox, but after World War II everything changed. I met his two brothers after the war began. One brother, Lajos was a tailor and the other, Miklos, a traveling salesman. I even met their children: Greta lives in Venezuela and the other child, a son, lives in America where he works as a carpenter. He has two children.
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Wilhelm Steiner

Wenn man nur den 'Baruch Atah Adonai' [Anm.: Gelobt Seist Du, Ewiger unser G'tt - Beginn der Segenssprüche] im Schädel hat, ist das schlimm. Zum Beispiel die orthodoxen Juden in Israel, wenn die heutzutage noch so herum rennen mit den schwarzen Hüten oder den Fellkappen auf den Köpfen - ist das doch ein Wahnsinn. Und dass sie am Schabbat [8] Steine auf fahrende Autos werfen, ist auch Wahnsinn. Die Regierung kann nichts dagegen machen, das ist ja die Katastrophe, denn diese Leute waren es ja, die das Judentum über Jahrtausende der Verfolgung erhalten haben. Das ist ja so eine komplizierte Geschichte. Die Orthodoxen dürfen natürlich existieren, sie dürfen auch so orthodox sein, wie sie wollen. Sie dürfen halt nicht die Macht haben.
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Max Tauber

Die Ehe meiner Großeltern war aber alles andere als harmonisch. Ich kann mich da nur auf das verlassen, was ich von meinem Vater und von meiner Großmutter erfahren habe. Es hat sehr große Konflikte gegeben, denn anscheinend war der Großvater nicht so orthodox wie die Großmutter, die ja streng orthodox erzogen worden war. Der Großvater ist sogar mit den Bauern aus Jakobsdorf ins Wirtshaus gegangen. Vielleicht ist er am Schabbes [5] zu spät heimgekommen, und sie stand schon beim Licht benschen - ich denke, es waren solche Sachen. Ich habe versucht, genauer zu recherchieren, bin aber auf ziemlich taube Ohren gestoßen. Sowohl meine Großmutter wie mein Vater haben sich darüber nicht ausführlich geäußert. Jedenfalls ist es irgendwie zu einem großen Konflikt gekommen, und meine Großmutter hat die Kinder genommen, mein Vater war ungefähr vier Jahre alt und der Onkel Max war zwei Jahre alt, hat meinen Großvater verlassen und ist wieder nach Weikendorf zu ihren Eltern gezogen. Daraufhin ist mein Großvater nach Amerika ausgewandert, das muss so um 1895 gewesen sein.
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Die Ehe meiner Großeltern war aber alles andere als harmonisch. Ich kann mich da nur auf das verlassen, was ich von meinem Vater und von meiner Großmutter erfahren habe. Es hat sehr große Konflikte gegeben, denn anscheinend war der Großvater nicht so orthodox wie die Großmutter, die ja streng orthodox erzogen worden war. Der Großvater ist sogar mit den Bauern aus Jakobsdorf ins Wirtshaus gegangen. Vielleicht ist er am Schabbes [5] zu spät heimgekommen, und sie stand schon beim Licht benschen - ich denke, es waren solche Sachen. Ich habe versucht, genauer zu recherchieren, bin aber auf ziemlich taube Ohren gestoßen. Sowohl meine Großmutter wie mein Vater haben sich darüber nicht ausführlich geäußert. Jedenfalls ist es irgendwie zu einem großen Konflikt gekommen, und meine Großmutter hat die Kinder genommen, mein Vater war ungefähr vier Jahre alt und der Onkel Max war zwei Jahre alt, hat meinen Großvater verlassen und ist wieder nach Weikendorf zu ihren Eltern gezogen. Daraufhin ist mein Großvater nach Amerika ausgewandert, das muss so um 1895 gewesen sein.
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Meine Familie war eine große und sehr religiöse Familie - strengstens orthodox. Mein Urgroßvater hat immer ein Kapperl getragen, jeden Tag gebetet, selbstverständlich war die Küche koscher - Milchiges und Fleischiges wurden getrennt - und sie hatten sogar eine Schabbesgojite [1]. Die Schabbesgojite war Frau Reichl, eine Nachbarin. Sie ist Freitagabend gekommen, hat eingeheizt und Samstag ist sie auch gekommen und hat geschaut, ob etwas gemacht werden muss. Auch meine Großmutter war noch sehr streng religiös, mein Vater dann aber nicht mehr.

Die Brüder meiner Großmutter wurden vom Urgroßvater in Religion unterrichtet, aber er war ein furchtbarer Tyrann und hat seine Kinder geschlagen, denn: Wer sein Kind liebt, spart nicht mit der Rute! Auch mein Vater ist von seinem Großvater sehr viel geprügelt worden, unglaublich, und er hat es sein ganzes Leben lang nie verkraftet.
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Gertrude Kritzer

Sie waren zwar sehr orthodox, trugen aber keine Pejes oder
Bärte und auch keine schwarze Kleidung.
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