Photo taken in:LodzCountry name at time of photo:PolandCountry name today:PolandName of the photographer / studio:Zychlinski
This is the photo of me. The photo was taken in Zychlinski’s studio in Lodz, in 1990’s.
My family come from Lwow. I was born in Lwow too, 15th July 1918. My name was Mosze, they used to call me Miszka, and I became Michal in the Soviet Army. Just like all my brothers I went to cheder as a child. I went to cheder and elementary school at the same time. First 4 years I went there. After the 4th grade I went further, to a normal public school. I was a very good student. But when the beautiful spring came, summer, then I used to play hooky.
My entire youth was concentrated around Akiba. Everything I did, one way or another conformed to the scout organization. Bene Akiba [Bnei Akiba] was a Jewish scout organization, organized by the religious party Mizrachi. After I graduated from public school, I decided to go to a vocational school, because that was the trend in the unit. We propagated the slogan 'let's be like all other nations.' That is, let's be a nation like all the other ones, let's not be a nation of only merchants. I also trained in track and field in Dror. Dror was a sports club. Later I practiced boxing. It was a sports club Hasmonea. At the end I also practiced jujitsu, but I wasn't a professional. And we played soccer.
My religion was really just about following tradition. We used to have discussions among us friends. Also about whether God exists or not. Opinions varied. We all had doubts. At that age you had doubts in general. I conformed to the religion, but not in a barbarian way, in a more humane way. As long as I was little I used to go to the synagogue with Father to pray, on holidays and always on Saturdays. Later, when I was 15, 16, I did it less and less. In the end I decided there is some higher power that controls the world without our knowledge. It definitely has no beard and no human shapes. It's just a spirit. Because the Jewish religion sees God not in a human form, but in the form of a spirit. But later I had a depression, to be honest, when the war broke out, I decided that in reality everything is inconceivable.
During the II World War I was on the front. I fought first in the Soviet, than in the Polish Army. I was wounded and spend long mounths in military hospitals and health resorts. In one of them, in Cracow, I met my future wife Stanislawa. We got married, in 1946, in a military marriage office, still in the hospital and after few mounths finally started living in Lodz. We have two sons: Aleksander and Slawomir. After the war I worked as a metal worker, employee of the Jewish Credit Bank, and a barrister.
I have three grandchildren. One from Slawek and two from Olek. Maciek, Slawek's son, is 14 right now and attends high-school in Lodz. Kuba comes from Copenhagen, but studies in Warsaw. He is finishing medicine. And there's also Misiek. He's also from Copenhagen. He is, I think, on the 1st or 2nd year of Computer Science. My sons weren't raised in the Jewish tradition, but they were interested, and still are interested in Jewish history. I know and I noticed that they know the history really well. It's a different matter with grandchildren. The older son, when he settled in Copenhagen, influenced by friends, got closer to the Jewish tradition. He doesn't know Jewish or Hebrew, but had a bar mitzvah and circumcisions for his sons. So Kuba and Misiek are circumcised, but at the moment everything is foreign to them anyway. But formally they are Jewish. We have a very good contact with each other.
I was professionally active until 1993. From the moment I started getting the pension, I still worked half time, and I was slowly closing the other jobs, first in Technical Gases in 1983. In PKO and PSS I remained until 1993. I would have continued working, but I had to be at home more because of my wife's illness.
My wife died on 18th April 2002. 56 or 57 years we were together, married. I can't find myself until this day. I was sick, I went to hospital twice, but the younger son visits me, and so it slowly goes… I also started going to the community, I'm socially active. Once I was active on the board for disabled war veterans, but now I can't due to my health. And I started going out on Saturdays, Fridays. So that I am among people, make contacts. For many years I was the president of the community, now I am vice-president. I resigned, I didn't feel strong enough to keep doing it.
I'm not sure why I agreed for this interview. I agreed reluctantly, I have to admit. The only thing that convinced me was that it's for the future generations. And maybe I'm counting that if I get a copy, my children will finally have a keepsake. They know very little about me. I remember many things, but I never sat down to segregate, write down what's important and what isn't. There's so much of it it's difficult to sort out? Besides, I can't express myself at all. Just here, for the first time…