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Oral history interview with Bernice Fishman

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.36 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0036

Bernice Fishman (née Bronia Grandens), born in Vronki, Poland in 1934; her father, who owned a clothing store; fleeing with her mother to her mother's parents in Staszow in 1939; the establishment of the Staszow Ghetto in 1940; Jewish children being educated clandestinely; being sent with her brother to live with a Polish farmer before the ghetto was evacuated; her grandmother joining them later; her grandfather and her father being sent to the Skarzysko concentration camp; her mother being hidden by a neighbor; leaving with her brother and grandmother to go to a town that was supposed to be a sanctuary for Jews; being caught by the Polish police and imprisoned for a week; being told daily they would be shot; her parents bribing somebody to get them out of prison; being hidden with her brother, aunt, and uncle by a succession of Poles in Ogrodzenie; posing as Catholics; feeling hungry often and her fear of being discovered; her four year old brother dying because they were afraid to take him to a doctor; getting sick and walking to a Catholic hospital, where she received care; being reunited with her parents in 1945; her family renting an apartment in Kielce that they shared with four other Jewish families; her mother giving birth to a girl; how her family managed to survive despite the constant fear of Polish antisemitism; how while she was hiding with the Kuchatays, she had to pose as a Catholic, go to confession, and receive communion, but never forgot she was Jewish; how after the war Mrs. Kuchatay found the family and threatened to sue unless Bernice converted legally; her family fleeing to Bytom, Poland with the help of Bernice's uncle who was in the Russian Army; the Kielce pogrom after they left; being smuggled into Czechoslovakia; going to a displaced persons camp near Stuttgart, Germany; attending a school for Jewish children where classes were conducted in Hebrew; her father obtaining an apartment in a house owned by a former member of the Nazi party; the different behavior of Poles, Russians, Czechs, and Germans toward Jews; and her family immigrating to the United States in 1950, sponsored by Bernice's cousin who was an American citizen.

Interviewee
Bernice Fishman
Date
1991 May 29  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
2 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, acquired from the Gratz College Hebrew Education Society
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:49:27
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508656