Warning! The text retains the original spelling of surnames and place names by an Israeli researcher; in many cases it may not be correct. Fragments that could contain current personal data have been removed from the interview.

Interviewee Name: Miriam Arbus (nee Dorfsman)
[…]
Date of Birth: 24/05/1935
Place of Birth: Lublin

Miriam Arbus' (nee Dorfsman) father Chaim Dorfsman used to work away from home and did not return home every day. He was a tailor by profession and had a workshop where he employed several workers. Miriam's mother Leah Dorfsman (nee Gordon) worked at a beer brewery. Miriam has an older sister named Fella Dorfsman. Miriam's parents used to speak Yiddish to one another but Polish with the children.

With the outbreak of WW2 and after living for a while in the Lublin Ghetto, Miriam and her family escaped to the grandmother Chana Dorfsman in Głusk. From Głusk, Miriam and her family started an arduous yearlong journey through various villages seeking a hiding place. In 1941, they finally found a place to hide with the Polish Christian family "Kowalchik" [Kowalczyk] in the Village of Shwidnik [Świdnik] where they were able to stay until the end of the war.

While in hiding, Miriam's mother Leah gave birth to a baby boy who was immediately killed, because they feared that his cries would endanger the entire family. The time in hiding was obviously very difficult. Miriam has written a booklet about it named Lost Childhood.

When the war ended, Miriam and her family moved to another village for about a year. They later returned to Lublin, where Miriam's father Chaim became extremely involved in the Jewish community life. Miriam attended a Polish public school. She had many non-Jewish Polish girlfriends. The Polish boys and youngsters on the other hand, used to pick on her and call her "Jew". On several such occasions Miriam used to physically fight back and stand up for her rights.

Until today Miriam is in touch with her female classmates, she visits them whenever she is in Poland and they exchange letters and phone calls. After completing her matriculation exams, Miriam started to work as a secretary for a military affiliated organization in Lublin. She was a member of the Hashomer Hazair Zionist movement. Her sister Fella attended medical school in Lublin.

In 1968 Miriam immigrated to Israel with her two sons (after she got divorced). She worked in a perfume factory and later became a social worker's assistant. In the late 1980s she started school again and studied housekeeping. She found a job in a hotel in Tel Aviv.
Miriam's family followed in her footsteps to Israel. Her sister found a job in a hospital. Her parents found it more difficult to integrate. Miriam's father worked as a simple worker in a factory.
The move to Israel was not very easy for Miriam. She did not speak the language and people in Israel were not willing to speak Polish. Her sons left and joined their father who was living in Berlin. In 1970 Miriam remarried and had another son.

 

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