Jozef Seweryn as a baby

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  • Photo taken in:
    Krakow
    Year when photo was taken:
    1917
    Country name at time of photo:
    Austria-Hungary, pre 1918
    Country name today:
    Poland

This is me. The photo was taken in Cracow in 1917. 

I was born on 24th June 1917. My mother had no milk, so I had a wet-nurse - it was our neighbor, Mrs. Rokoszowa. I was friends with her son Tadek, who was my milk brother, throughout childhood. 

When I was a few years old my mother left us. She met some Pole - Wladyslaw Seweryn and married him. When she left I walked her with my grandparents to the tram stop. I stayed behind as she didn't take me with her. She later changed her name to Elzbieta. Her husband worked on construction sites, she had a stall on the Maly Rynek market square. He didn't want to keep in touch with our family. They had children, but I never met them. 

I grew up with my grandparents, Jakob and Felicja Kraus. My grandparents didn't have much time - they had their problems and their own affairs. I helped my grandfather in the shop. I remember he used to say, 'Do this, do that, wash the floor, clean up.' But my grandmother she had a gentler, caring approach, 'Come and have some dinner, have some lunch and breakfast.' My mother used to visit us sometimes. 

We lived on 11 Limanowskiego Street, in a tenement house belonging to Mr. Brajer, who was of German origin. There were both Poles and Jews living in that house. It was a large building; there were two wings on both sides. Our apartment was in the back, on the first floor, and my grandfather’s hairdressing salon was on the ground floor, with an entrance from the street. My grandmother didn't have a separate office for her real estate business. Customers would call her, my grandmother had a telephone and she took care of her business in the city.

There were three rooms in our apartment. My grandmother and grandfather slept in one of them; I slept in the second one and the housekeeper in the third. The housekeeper was Polish. When I was small, I also had a nanny. I don't remember her name. 

 

Interview details

Interviewee: Jozef Seweryn
Interviewer:
Zuzanna Solakiewicz
Month of interview:
May
Year of interview:
2004
Warsaw, Poland

KEY PERSON

Jozef Seweryn
Year of birth:
1917
City of birth:
Cracow
Country name at time of birth:
Austria-Hungary
Occupation
before WW II:
Worker at a dentistry supplies store
after WW II:
Worker at an office that assigned apartments, aircraft factory worker, machine factory worker
Family names
  • Previous family name: 
    Kraus
    Year of changing: 
    1942
    Reason for changing: 
    Hiding Jewish identity/nationality

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