David Berwald


As interviewed by Abbey Stein, March 19, 2018

David Berwald: In His Own Words

I'm Abbey Stein and I interviewed my grandfather about his family in the Holocaust.
Iím David Berwald, and my parents were named Israel, Irvin Berwald and Fania, Fay Berwald. Fania and Israel both were raised in Europe. My father grew up in a town called Raczki Poland meaning the place where they sold their produce. Faniaís family was in the steel and metal business. January 1937 there were Anti-semitic riots. He couldnít take it living in the country of Poland and he had a relative in St. Louis named Paul Berwald and he supported Israel in trying to come to the United States. They had no idea they would not be able to go back to Poland ever again or see their families ever again. September 1st 1939, it was the day the Nazis invaded Poland and after that the Nazis became in charge of everything.
There was a large number of letters starting when Fay and Israel left Poland. These were all written in Yiddish and so we had them translated, some were written in Polish so I had those translated. Initially things were okay, the Nazis left people alone. Near the end it got rather hard on Israel's parents and they asked for money and for clothing.
The Yiddish was a scrip Yiddish, and I couldn't find anyone who could read that kind of Yiddish. So I had to send them to New York City. In Polish, I had a friend where I would go to his office and he would read the letters and I would write them down.
My father was very mad at Judaism and at G-d because of what happened to his family, he came back to Judaism many years after the war.
My parents had friends that became Uncles and Aunts and we did things with them and had the holidays with them. As my mother always said ďfrom the two of them came our whole family.Ē
The thing that it has taught me is the importance of family. They were viewed as an inferior people. They became a scapegoat for other people. Iíve always viewed it that any person who looks down on other people is wrong. Iíve accepted everybody and I try to be nice to everyone.