David P. Boder Interviews Esther Freilich; August 9, 1946; Paris, France

  • David Boder: [In English] Chicago, November the 16th, 1950. This is spool 9-40. The . . . a short interview with a child, Esther Freilich, the daughter of Mrs. Frieda Freilich . . . of whom we have that long interview, reported in the book as, eh . . . "Mrs. Freich." Boder.
  • David Boder: Now for a short statement . . . eh . . . Esther . . . Esther Frieden . . . was hat?
  • Esther Freilich: Freilich.
  • David Boder: Esther Freilich, whose mother has covered Spool 36, 37 and 38. Esther is 13 years old.
  • David Boder: [In German] So, Esther, tell me [unintelligible] what is your name and how old are you?
  • Esther Freilich: My, my name is Esther Freilich. I am [unintelligible, already?] thirteen years old.
  • David Boder: You are [unintelligible]. When was your birthday?
  • Esther Freilich: On March 11th.
  • David Boder: On March 11th, you turned thirteen years old.
  • Esther Freilich: Yes.
  • David Boder: Yes. So, Esther, tell me, err, you have been taken with your mother how many times?
  • Esther Freilich: Oh, three, four times.
  • David Boder: Three, four times
  • Esther Freilich: Yes.
  • David Boder: Err, tell me, how was . . . how was it in Drancy. Were you in Drancy?
  • Esther Freilich: Yes. I was in the Drancy.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: I come at [unintelligible] at two o'clock at night. In [unintelligible] and we do in the Commissariat. In, err, Commissariat is preparing. And afterwards we do take the train and we ride to Drancy.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: We are walking.
  • David Boder: So, who came to your home, to get you and when was this?
  • Esther Freilich: The French Poli . . . Police.
  • David Boder: The Police came. At what time?
  • Esther Freilich: Two o'clock of the night.
  • David Boder: At two o'clock at night.
  • Esther Freilich: Yes.
  • David Boder: And what did they tell you?
  • Esther Freilich: The told me that [unintelligible]. We were to prepare our packages, where they [unintelligible]. Where [unintelligible] . . .
  • David Boder: [unintelligible]
  • Esther Freilich: Yes.
  • David Boder: Well, and what kind of packages did you prepare?
  • Esther Freilich: Err, we taked, what one thinks, the necessary.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: But they said, we could not [unintelligible] . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: Because, err, [unintelligible]
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: We had understood, when we went . . . we taked, what they thought . . . meant . . . we could . . .
  • David Boder: Uh, hm. And where was your father? Where is the . . . ?
  • Esther Freilich: Our father, he worked at nights.
  • David Boder: I see. Well, and who went then, your mother and who else?
  • Esther Freilich: Mother, my brother and I.
  • David Boder: Yes, and you. Well? Then you were taken to the Commissariat.
  • Esther Freilich: Yes. At the Commissariat they looked at [unintelligible]
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: The [unintelligible]
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: [unintelligible]
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: I went with Mama . . . she was then gone to Drancy . . .
  • David Boder: And the brother?
  • Esther Freilich: With the brother.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: They left to Drancy. I was a big [unintelligible] . . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: Big! And . . .
  • David Boder: Yes, how did you go to Drancy?
  • Esther Freilich: By autobus.
  • David Boder: By autobus. Yes and then?
  • Esther Freilich: Then we came to Drancy. Had [unintelligible] also taken, the . . . because of the command.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: And we waited in a, err, a big, err, house. And [unintelligible] all things.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: She took everything. And [unintelligible], the me . . . the men, they said then, the women . . .
  • David Boder: Yes, and where did they take your brother?
  • Esther Freilich: The brother?
  • David Boder: To the men . . . ?
  • Esther Freilich: Yes, to the men.
  • David Boder: And you stayed with . . .
  • Esther Freilich: With mother.
  • David Boder: Yes. Well, tell me, what is there happened?
  • Esther Freilich: That was . . . there . . . then I . . . [unintelligible] . . . one bed on top of the other..
  • David Boder: Yes. Where did you sleep?
  • Esther Freilich: With mother.
  • David Boder: You slept by your mother.
  • Esther Freilich: Yes.
  • David Boder: And what did they give you to eat?
  • Esther Freilich: At first I was with mother [unintelligible] . . .
  • David Boder: Hmm, yes, with your mother at [unintelligible] . . .
  • Esther Freilich: Also there and [unintelligible] children. Then they were all [unintelligible] sent to the Red Cross and [unintelligible, sounds like "Aral"] . . .
  • David Boder: Hmm.
  • Esther Freilich: They, err, all sent to [unintelligible, sounds like "Aral"], because the children were sick. The children had a big camp, all children went with. With the . . . there, there was coffee and a miller . . .
  • David Boder: Hmm. Yes . . .
  • Esther Freilich: And there was bread . . .
  • David Boder: I see . . .
  • Esther Freilich: And a little [unintelligible, sounds like "Polish"] doll.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: And, err, then they, err, deported.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: They gi . . . give a little, err, flour to the children.
  • David Boder: A little bit of flour.
  • Esther Freilich: Yes.
  • David Boder: For the deported children?
  • Esther Freilich: Yes.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: Well . . . .
  • David Boder: Well, and err, what happened to you then?
  • Esther Freilich: To me? We were . . . yes, err . . . [unintelligible, sounds like "averted"]
  • David Boder: What [unintelligible] . . .
  • Esther Freilich: The Police. Did just [unintelligible] and had there their . . . [unintelligible]
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: [Unintelligible, sounds like "Stollwitz"]. Took it from me.
  • David Boder: Hmm.
  • Esther Freilich: And this guy left . . . from Drancy . . . was deported to Germany.
  • David Boder: Who? The other people?
  • Esther Freilich: Yes.
  • David Boder: And you and your brother left.
  • Esther Freilich: I with my brother, with the, err, err, mother, with other family . . . we left . . . and also a little animal.
  • David Boder: Yes, why did you leave?
  • Esther Freilich: Because my father David had [unintelligible] learned . . .
  • David Boder: I see.
  • Esther Freilich: And while, while the, err, flu . . . laughed except [unintelligible], you understand?
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: No?
  • David Boder: Well? What else to you want to tell me?
  • Esther Freilich: I want tell you . . . .me . . . because [unintelligible] of Paris. I was [unintelligible]. I was used to . . . [unintelligible]. So, I saw that children are playing in the streets.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: [Unintelligible] . . . sorry. I didn't [unintelligible] . . .
  • David Boder: Why not?
  • Esther Freilich: The police didn't let me. Forbidden in Germany. Children [unintelligible] in the cinema.
  • David Boder: Yes. The Jewish children.
  • Esther Freilich: Yes, Jewish children.
  • David Boder: Did you meet, err . . . [unintelligible]?
  • Esther Freilich: [Unintelligible].
  • David Boder: The [unintelligible] you met?
  • Esther Freilich: Yes. I also [unintelligible, sounds like "head"] . . . I still have . . . [unintelligible]
  • David Boder: Yes, you have to show me next time.
  • Esther Freilich: I will show . . . [unintelligible] . . . had [unintelligible]
  • David Boder: Yes. And, err, did they let you play in the garden?
  • Esther Freilich: No, no, they didn't.
  • David Boder: Did you go to school?
  • Esther Freilich: Only four days. [Unintelligible] . . . the last moment I was [unintelligible]. I had [unintelligible], because, err, [unintelligible] . . . in school [unintelligible]. And me, I didn't know that [unintelligible]
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: Do you understand? I didn't go then.
  • David Boder: I see. [Unintelligible]. That is where you lived. Who was there? Your father or your mother?
  • Esther Freilich: No, I was there alone. Two years I was alone.
  • David Boder: [Unintelligible] . . . Two years you were alone?
  • Esther Freilich: [My parents no know . . . unintelligible]
  • David Boder: Why? Who sent those to you there?
  • Esther Freilich: [Unintelligible].
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: Didn't tell her that . . . she knows a young woman . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: [Unintelligible] . . . claimed
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: Yes, I traveled. Mother . . . [unintelligible] . . . because I didn't know what mother had done . . . I thought, mother was long gone to Germany.
  • David Boder: Which mother?
  • Esther Freilich: My mother.
  • David Boder: Why?
  • Esther Freilich: Because I didn't know what mother . . . I didn't know how to write.
  • David Boder: Oh! You didn't know how to write!
  • Esther Freilich: Yes! Because, err, mother had written [unintelligible] . . . err, I wrote . . . well, my, err . . . letters . . .
  • David Boder: Yes, yes.
  • Esther Freilich: The woman in the camp, she wrote, when I was coming. All, err, to the "gare" [she probably means: train station] with false documents.
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: [Unintelligible]
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: And I, I [unintelligible] you win a basket and there were four thousand soldiers.
  • David Boder: Who said that?
  • Esther Freilich: I did. I am [unintelligible].
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: [Unintelligible].
  • David Boder: And so then you left?
  • Esther Freilich: Yes.
  • David Boder: To where?
  • Esther Freilich: I went home. Mother came with the things.
  • David Boder: I see. And then?
  • Esther Freilich: After two years. I came back from Paris.
  • David Boder: I see. When did your mother come to look for you? When the Germans had already left?
  • Esther Freilich: No, and [unintelligible].
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: [Unintelligible].
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: Yes, I forgot to say . . . [unintelligible].
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: So then I went to [unintelligible] . . .
  • David Boder: You went to [unintelligible] with whom?
  • Esther Freilich: Yes. With the, err, with mother, with the, err, with my brother and with the sister. The other one . . .
  • David Boder: With the other sister.
  • Esther Freilich: Other sister. With the other sister.
  • David Boder: Yes, and what happened there?
  • Esther Freilich: There [unintelligible] . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: You understand? The train from [unintelligible] . . . put us on . . . [unintelligible]
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: And we rode all day and all night . . . and we couldn't, err . . . without we know, without they give us something to . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: [Unintelligible].
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: I had [unintelligible] . . . I had a plastic . . . err, seat . . .
  • David Boder: Hmm . . .
  • Esther Freilich: [Unintelligible] and then I went outside.
  • David Boder: In [unintelligible]?
  • Esther Freilich: Yes.
  • David Boder: Hmm . . .
  • Esther Freilich: And then I went outside, I, I had left the hospital . . . I didn't know, what [unintelligible] . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: What good luck . . . she already left again, because, err . . . they wanted to [unintelligible, sounds like "separate"] me . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: And then I left. The . . . err . . .
  • David Boder: And to whom did you go?
  • Esther Freilich: To Mama.
  • David Boder: I see.
  • Esther Freilich: [Unintelligible].
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: And, err, and the thing. And we left at night . . . they took us out [unintelligible] . . .
  • David Boder: Yes, that was again . . .
  • Esther Freilich: Yes. We left and the day, I saw, how my sister was deported . . .
  • David Boder: Your sister?
  • Esther Freilich: And she called my name!
  • Esther Freilich: I saw, how they called the name . . . my sister left . . . and I said, I give you something [unintelligible] . . .
  • David Boder: I see.
  • Esther Freilich: I left [unintelligible] and carried her. Afterward the brother went outside again, thought, they are going to deport him . . .
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: The mother with the other kids could deported. [Unintelligible].
  • David Boder: And what are you doing now?
  • Esther Freilich: I don't know? Now?
  • David Boder: Yes.
  • Esther Freilich: What do I want to do?
  • David Boder: Yes. What?
  • Esther Freilich: [Unintelligible].
  • David Boder: Yes, but are you going to school right now? Are you studying . . . ?
  • Esther Freilich: Naw, now I go to school for Ge . . . .
  • David Boder: Yes, but before you came, did you go to . . .
  • Esther Freilich: School.
  • David Boder: Which school?
  • Esther Freilich: I went to . . . err, the [unintelligible].
  • David Boder: Yes, to French school?
  • Esther Freilich: Yes.
  • David Boder: With French kids?
  • Esther Freilich: Yes.
  • David Boder: And are they good to, err, to you?
  • Esther Freilich: They are . . . well, one kid wrote, "you dirty Jew" . . .
  • David Boder: No! And the teach . . . who is the teacher?
  • Esther Freilich: The teacher doesn't . . . a French woman . . . she doesn't like me.
  • David Boder: Why not?
  • Esther Freilich: I don't know. She doesn't like everybody.
  • David Boder: Oh! How many Jews are there in your class?
  • Esther Freilich: In my class, there are four Jews . . . [unintelligible].
  • David Boder: Four Jews. And nobody noticed that [unintelligible]?
  • Esther Freilich: No.
  • David Boder: Well, and, err, how long do you have to go to school for?
  • Esther Freilich: One year.
  • David Boder: One year and then what will you do?
  • Esther Freilich: And then I'll go to the other school, a German school.
  • David Boder: What do you learn?
  • Esther Freilich: I [unintelligible], err, what I'm learning? The machine.
  • David Boder: What machine?
  • Esther Freilich: Err, shorthand.
  • David Boder: Oh! You are learning the machine in order to write?
  • Esther Freilich: Yes.
  • David Boder: Well, you'll learn that.
  • Esther Freilich: Yes.
  • David Boder: [In English] Alright. This concludes a short [unintelligible] . . . Freilich, whose mother insisted that the child be interview— [unintelligible] . . . appeal. And, eh [unintelligible] now all her difficulties at school are due to the fact that she is Jewish. Eh, this is, eh, August the 9th, taken at . . . number 9 Rue de Patin, the home for aged Jews. The child is a child of a concierge here at the place. And, umm, this concludes the recording . . . wire recording of Illinois Institute of Technology.
  • Contributors to this text:
  • Transcription : Dorothea Walter
  • English Translation : Dorothea Walter