Oral history
History witnesses

Dora Hiller-Mańczak

Interlocutor name:
Interlocutor surname:
Joanna Król
Przemysław Jaczewski
Catalogue number:
Recording date:
29th April 2014
Recording location:
Recording duration:
Recording language:
Recording copyright:
Museum of the History of Polish Jews POLIN
Jews in Poland


Emigration, ghettos , Polish-Jewish relations, Jewish tradition.

Related places

Interlocutor biogram

Dora Hiller-Mańczak was born in 1947 in Wałbrzych, where she still resides. Her parents come from Jewish families from Ozorków near Łódź, which knew each other before the war. They met in Wałbrzych, where many Jews who survived the war travelled to. Her mother, Fradla Hiller née Krygier survived the ghetto in Łódź, was sent to the camp in Brzezinki and then to one of the Gross-Rosen camps in Dzierżoniów. Her father, Chaim Hiller, who was a member of the Bund before the war, survived the war in the Soviet Union. Despite his socialist views, after the war Chaim Hiller joined the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR). Dora Hiller-Mańczak has one sister - Irena Rosynski née Hiller, who has lived in Sweden since 1970. In the family home of Dora Hiller-Mańczak Jewish traditions were upheld- the mother respected the kosher rule and the parents often spoke to each other in Yiddish. Dora Hiller-Mańczak attended a Polish public school and secondary school for 11 years - and she remembers being the only Jewish girl there. In 1956, her parents - despite differences in opinion in regard to the matter of emigration (the father wanted to remain in Poland, while the mother wanted to emigrate) decided to leave Poland for South America. However, as a result of the events of October 1956 and hoping for things to improve in Poland, they decided to stay. In the years 1964-1970, Dora Hiller-Mańczak studied at the Wrocław University of Technology at the Faculty of Sanitary Engineering. She is a sanitary installation engineer by profession. After the events of March 1968, her sister emigrated to Sweden and her parents to Denmark. Dora Hiller-Mańczak decided to remain in Poland as she had already started a family here - her husband Bronisław Mańczak is a Polish catholic. In the 1980s, Dora Hiller-Mańczak was active in NSZZ “Solidarność” and worked at the production plant of sanitary installations “Inwest Projekt”. She has one son and four grandchildren. Currently, she is retired. She has become involved in the activities run by the Wałbrzych branch of the Social and Cultural Association of Jews in Poland. In matters of identity, she considers herself first and foremost a Jew.

Recording circumstances description

The recording was made in Wałbrzych at the home of Dora Hiller-Mańczak.

Recording summary

  1. Political views of the father, ancestry of his family, membership in the Bund and later in PZPR, her father's profession, relations with superiors at  work after the war, 0:08:25
  2.  Her mother’s employment after the war, her family's ancestry, 0:11:00
  3.  Life of her mother and sister during the war, life of the father in the Soviet Union during WWII, 0:11:40
  4. Adherence to Jewish traditions and the kosher rule in the family home, 0:14:20
  5. Differences in the attitude of the parents in relation to the upbringing of the daughters (mother in a traditional way, father with an anti-religious approach), the concept of one’s Jewish identity, 0:15:20
  6. Celebrating Jewish holidays in the family home,  a Christmas tree at Christmas, 0:16:40
  7. Yiddish in the family home, 0:18:00
  8. School years, contact with older friends, their emigration abroad, 0:18:50
  9. Plans to leave Poland in 1956: motivations, preparations, and the antisemitic atmosphere in Wałbrzych as one of the reasons for making the decision to leave Poland, 0:20:20
  10. Antisemitic incidents towards the Interviewee during her school years, reaction of the teachers to these incidents, 0:21:40
  11. Purchasing goods before leaving Poland, 0:23:30
  12. Recollection of Stalin’s death, memories of the hope felt in relation to the events of the political thaw in Poland in 1956, 0:27:30
  13. Studying at the Wrocław University of Technology, 0:29:50
  14. Atmosphere at the university during the Six-Day War in 1967, overheard remarks relating to the war, reflection on the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, 0:31:15
  15. Her sister's departure to Sweden after her secondary school final examinations in 1969 dictated by the antisemitic events of the years 1967-1968, 0:33:30 
  16. Relationship of the Interviewee’s to leaving Poland, having psychological comfort in Poland - the support of her friends and husband, 0:35:38
  17. Departure of her parents to Denmark in 1970, 0:36:03
  18. Motivation behind the decision of her parents to leave for Denmark, 0:36:25
  19. Trips of the Interviewee to visit her family abroad in the 1970s, obtaining permits to leave Poland and difficulties experienced in  having her passport issued because of her father’s activity in the Bund in Denmark, 0:37:00
  20. The role of TSKŻ in the life of the Interviewee from her adolescence to her university years, 0:38:48
  21. The involvement of the Interviewee in TSKŻ from the 1990s to modern times, 0:40:45
  22. Relationship with her husband, son, grandchildren; upbringing of grandchildren in Polish and Jewish fashion, 0:48:10
  23. The issue of her friends’ relationship to her ancestry during her university studies, references to Jewish stereotypes in the Polish language, especially in idioms, 0:49:55
  24. Death of her parents; her parents’ returns to Poland before their death, 0:51:55
  25. Relationship of the Interviewee’s father to NSZZ „Solidarność”; participation of the Interviewee in a trade union work at her place of employment “Inwest Projekt”, 0:55:00
  26. Opinion of the Interviewee’s father on the political breakthrough in Poland (workers leaving the Party, creation of “Solidarność”), 0:57:45
  27. Martial law in Poland, receiving food from her parents from abroad, 0:58:40
  28. Foreign trips of the Interviewee during communism in Poland, thoughts on the contrast between the countries in Western Europe and the Polish People’s Republic, 01:00:40
  29. Relationship of the Interviewee’s sister to Poland and her life in Gothenburg, 01:02:00
  30. First and second names of her parents and sister, 01:03:47
  31. Commemoration of the non-existent synagogue in Wałbrzych; recollection of German Jews who lived in Wałbrzych before WWII, 01:04:00
  32. Commemoration of the Jewish theatre in Wałbrzych; recollection of the performances once held in the theatre, 01:07:00
  33. The Interviewee’s trips to  Israel starting  in 1992, 01:09:40
  34. Identity of the Interviewee’s son, 01:13:00
  35. Identity of the Interviewee, 01:14:14
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