Oral history
History witnesses

Szymon Fisz

Interlocutor name:
Interlocutor surname:
Joanna Król
Przemysław Jaczewski
Catalogue number:
Recording date:
14th March 2014
Recording location:
Recording duration:
Recording language:
Recording copyright:
Museum of the History of Polish Jews POLIN
Jewish Emigrants from Poland

Related places

Interlocutor biogram

Szymon Fisz was born in Astana (formerly Akmolinsk) in the Soviet Union in 1944. Together with his mother, who came from Warsaw, and a step-brother, Szymon Fisz came to Poland in 1946. Here, the older son went to live with his father in Bydgoszcz and was  separated  from the mother. After several months, Szymon Fisz’s father joined  the family . The parents never married, and after several years they parted; the mother had another child with a different partner - Szymon Fisz’s step-sister. The family moved to Legnica located in the so-called Recovered Territories. His mother worked at the tailors’ cooperative “Jedność”, while the father worked  throughout his life as a trainer in sports clubs, and in 1946 he set up the Jewish Sports Club “Gwiazda” in Legnica. Szymon Fisz  attended a school run by the Children’s Friends Association (TPD) in Legnica, and then  a secondary technical school in Dzierżoniów. He graduated  with a degree in electronics from the Wrocław University of Technology. For many years, he travelled as a participant and later as an instructor to summer camps run by the Social and Cultural Society of Jews in Poland (TSKŻ), where he met his future wife - Małka - who came from Wrocław. They both worked in engineering-related posts until working in their professions became impossible. In the years 1968-1970, Szymon Fisz completed his military service in Trzebiatów. After his military service he tried to get a job in Wrocław as a railway station manager.  His wife could not find any employment as a result of anti-Semitic discrimination (officially she was refused  the job she applied for due to being overeducated).  In 1973, the Fish family, together with their two children, decided to leave Poland for Denmark. Szymon Fisz lives with his family in Copenhagen, where for many years he worked as an electronic technician. He is currently retired and dedicates his time to his favourite sport - table tennis. 

Recording circumstances description

The conversation took place in a conference room at the POLIN Museum, on the third floor, after making an appointment by email and agreeing on the details just before the interview. After the interview (portrait of the Interviewee), footage was taken of some archival photographs belonging to the Interviewee.

Recording summary

  1. Ancestry of the mother, fate of the father during the First and Second World War, meeting of the parents during the Second World War in the Soviet Union, 0:00:00
  2. Return of the mother to Poland in 1946, separation from the older step-brother, 0:01:45
  3. Return of the Interviewee’s father to Poland, pre-war sports education of his father, creation of the Jewish Sports Club “Gwiazda” in Legnica by his father, Jewish settlements in Legnica, 0:03:04
  4. Recollections of the Jewish, community (including its religious life) in Legnica after the war, 0:03:56
  5. Jewish schools and organisations in Legnica, 0:04:20
  6. Emigration of Jews in 1950, 0:05:36
  7. Yiddish in school and in the family home, 0:06:15
  8. Awareness of the Interviewee’s Jewish ancestry, attending the school run by the Children’s Friends Association, 0:07:58
  9. Synagogue in Legnica, meetings of the non-religious majority of the Jewish community in Legnica, 0:09:20
  10. Religion in the family home, 0:10:55
  11. Departures of Jews in 1950, events in the school in 1956 - departure of Jewish children, arrivals of the children of Greek communists, later the late 1950s - arrival of the second wave of repatriates of Polish Jews from the Soviet Union, 0:11:30
  12. Relations with Polish peers, 0:20:00
  13. Jewish holidays in school, school celebrations, 0:20:00
  14. Fate of the parents’ families after the war, 0:21:07
  15. The functioning of Joint and the Organization for the  Development of Creativity (Organizacja Rozwoju Twórczości) in Legnica, 0:23:40
  16. Summer camps organised by TSKŻ, 0:25:30
  17. The presence of Russians in Legnica, 0:28:55
  18. Description of the war damage in Legnica after the war, hooligans in Legnica, 0:32:40
  19. Meeting his future wife during a TSKŻ summer camp, 0:35:45
  20. Studying at the Wrocław University of Technology in Wrocław, marriage, birth of a son, 0:38:20
  21. Atmosphere in Wrocław around the events of 8 March 1968, return to the Polish People's Army i where the Interviewee spent 2 years, 0:41:05
  22. Persecution of the Interviewee and his family from 1968 until his departure in 1973, dilemmas surrounding the departure from Poland, 0:44:00
  23. Attempts to find employment after being released from his military service in 1970, situation of the parents after the events of March 1968, 0:45:10
  24. Description of the departure for Denmark, collection of documents and preparations for the journey ( the moving firm, purchasing of goods, counting of goods and clothes on the “exit” list), 01:11:40
  25. Saying goodbye to the family, 01:18:15
  26. First years in Denmark, 01:20:00
  27. Memories of the aid granted by “Joint” to the Jewish community in Poland, 01:22:00
  28. Membership in the Lower Silesian Sports District (table tennis), 01:27:00
  29. Parents’ death in Poland, father’s funeral in Legnica, 01:29:30
  30. Difficulties with the return to Poland in the 1970s and 1980s, 01:33:05
  31. Decision to leave for Denmark, 01:39:10
  32. Memories from the 1960s and 1970s in Poland - persecution, covert surveillance, visits by a Security Service (SB) officer at his home, 01:43:00
  33. Describing family photos, 01:46:10
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