Oral history
History witnesses

Bela Flajs

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


Polish-Jewish relations, Jewish identity, Jewish tradition, Everyday life, Jews in the USSR.

Related places

Interlocutor biogram

Bela Flajs was born in 1935 in Kosiv (before the war it was located in the Stanisławów Voivodeship of the Second Polish Republic, currently located in the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast). After the Soviet Army entered Poland, her family was deported to the Soviet Union. Bela Flajs survived the war in the Urals, together with her mother, aunt, and her grandmother. After the war, in the spring of 1946, she arrived in Pieszyce near Dzierżoniów as part of a repatriation programme. Later, the family moved to Dzierżoniów, where Bela Flajs still resides. Her mother, Sara Flajs, was a communist who for many years worked as a librarian for the Party Committee in Dzierżoniów. She was buried at the Jewish cemetery in Dzierżoniów. Barbara Flajs obtained an engineering degree in Moscow, where she met her future husband,  who was Polish as well. She is a qualified electronics engineer. Bela Flajs worked all her life at the DIORA production plant as a constructor of car radios, industrial automation and also specialised in military manufacture. She gave birth to two daughters. She has two grandchildren who are being brought up in the Catholic tradition, but they know their grandmother is Jewish. The family respects different traditions - both Catholic and Jewish holidays are celebrated  in the family - and Bela Flajs prepares Jewish dishes for the family on such occasions. For many years now, Bela Flajs has been retired. She is active in the TSKŻ club in Dzierżoniów. She describes herself as a Pole of Jewish ancestry.

Recording circumstances description

The recording was made in the flat of Bela Flajs in Dzierżoniów after agreeing on the date of the interview by phone.

Recording summary

  1. Education and profession of the Interviewee, 0:00:26
  2. Arrival from the Urals to Pieszyce in 1946; story about travelling by rail after the war to Lower Silesia, recollections of Germans leaving Pieszyce, 0:01:21
  3. Family stories from the war, disappearance of the father, 0:03:33
  4. Memories of spring in Dzierżoniów and of the lung disease suffered by the Interviewee, stay at a sanatorium run by the Society for the Protection of Jewish Health in Poland (TOŻ) in Otwock near Warsaw, 0:06:00
  5. Jewish school in Pieszyce; Polish and Yiddish language in the family home, 0:10:10
  6. Political beliefs of the mother, and the resulting decision to remain in Poland, 0:13:40
  7. Impact of the events of March 1968 on the family of the Interviewee and her employment; harassment by telephone, 0:15:00
  8. Poles and Jews in Dzierżoniów - relations, friendships, 0:21:00
  9. Emigrations in the late 1950s. - dilemmas and choices, 0:22:15
  10. Engineering studies in Moscow, the situation of student friends from Hungary during the events in Budapest in 1956, 0:25:54
  11. Attitude of the Interviewee's mother to the authorities of the Polish People’s Republic, especially to Gomułka, her relationship to “Solidarność”, 0:27:50
  12. Atheism in the family of Bela Flajs (mother, aunt) and religiousness (grandmother), 0:36:50
  13. Being Jewish at the time of the Polish People’s Republic, 0:40:00
  14. Present-day celebrat ions of Jewish and Catholic holidays with the family, 0:42:30
  15. Taking part in events organised by TSKŻ in Dzierżoniów, 0:45:50
  16. Identity issues nowadays, 0:48:30
  17. Recollections of childhood in the Hutsulshchyna (her mother worked at a weaving mill),  subsequent deportations to the Urals during WWII, 0:49:40
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