My Childhood 1923-1939

I was there.

Oskar Tojzner grew up in Dąbrowica, a Polish town close to the border with the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Father Moshe worked in a factory and mother Sonia was a housewife. Oskar had a number of siblings: brothers Beitzalel and Aba, and younger sisters Jochewed and Chawa.

Oskar Tojzner (1923-2019), Poland (current Ukraine)

Oskar Tojzner (1923-2019), Poland (current Ukraine)

Consider here what life was like for Oskar before the war.

My Family

Oskar talks about his family and childhood Dabrowica, a Polish town close to the border with the Ukranian Soviet Socialist Republic.

In the picture you can see Oskar on the left at the back, followed by his brothers Beitzalel and Aba. Jochewed is on the right. At the front are Chawa and parents Sonia and Moshe.

1) Look at the picture and answer the question.

  • 1a. What can you tell about the family by looking at the picture? What feelings does it arouse about Oskar's family?

Life Before the War

Oskar talks about what life was like before the war.

2) Listen to Oskar as he talks about his family and life before the war. Then answer the questions.

  • 2a. All the children in the family were given Hebrew names. What was Oskar's Hebrew name and why did his parents choose this name?

  • 2b. When Oskar was six, he started at a Polish school. Oskar also received home schooling in Hebrew. Why do you think this was?

  • 2c. The family later moved from Granie to Dabrowica. Here the residents spoke a variety of languages such as Polish, Ukranian, Hebrew and Yiddish. What does Oskar say about relations between these groups?

Jewish Life in the Town of Dąbrowica

A slideshow about the Jewish population of Dabrowica.

3) Watch the slideshow about Jewish life in the town of Dabrowica. Then answer the question.

  • 3a. In what way did Sarny and Dabrowica typify so-called shtetls?

Extra Material