My Childhood 1925–1938

I was there.

Max Safir was born in 1925 in Bodzentyn, Poland. Max doesn't know exactly when he was born, that's why he has decided that his cousin's birthday and birth year is the date he himself was born. 

When his parents' mill in Bodzentyn burnt down the family moved to Kielce where his father owned a sawmill. Max grew up there with his parents and siblings. Max was especially close to his uncles in Bodzentyn and his aunt in Kielce.

In Kielce Max used to go to the movies or to football matches. He was also a member of a scout movement. Max used to dream about leaving Poland and emigrating to Israel once he was older. Max remembers that there was a lot of antisemitism in Kielce even before the war, for example people used to throw stones at their house after church on Sundays. 

Max Safir (1925-2020), Poland

Max Safir (1925-2020), Poland


The fire in Bodzentyn

Max talks about his first years in Bodzentyn, Poland, and about when his parents' mill burnt down.

1) Listen to Max as he talks about his childhood. 

  • 1a. Max is talking about how he usually celebrates his birthday on the 10th of November. What is Max telling us about his birthday and year of birth?

Life in Kielce

Max talks about his childhood in Kielce. He also talks about his first years in school and what he used to do in his free time.

2) Listen to Max as he talks about his childhood in Kielce

  • 2a. Max talks about his childhood in Kielce. What did he use to do in his spare time?

Antisemitism in Kielce

Max talks about the antisemitism in Kielce before the war and his dreams of leaving Poland one day.

3) Listen to Max as he talks about antisemitism in Kielce.

  • 3a. Max dreamt about leaving Poland. Where did he want to move and why do you think he wanted to move there?

Jewish life in Bodzentyn

Slideshow about the Jewish life in Bodzentyn.

4) Watch the presentation explaining Jewish life in Bodzentyn. Then answer the following question.

  • 4a. Jews in Bodzentyn worked in many different professions. Can you give some examples?

Extra Material