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Oral history interview with Bernice Fishman

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

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    Oral history interview with Bernice Fishman


    Interview Summary
    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.
    Bernice Fishman
    interview:  1991 May 29
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive

    Physical Details

    2 sound cassettes (60 min.).

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Fishman, Bernice, 1934-

    Administrative Notes

    The Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive conducted the interview with Bernice Fishman in Philadelphia, Pa., on May 29, 1991. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum received the tapes of the interview from Gratz College on September 22, 1998.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 08:36:07
    This page:

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