Rena Finder on Life before the Holocaust

Rena Finder, a Holocaust survivor rescued by Oskar Schindler, recounts her happy childhood living in Krakow, Poland, before the start of World War II and the Holocaust.
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At a Glance



English — US


  • History
  • The Holocaust

My name is Rena Finder, and I was born in Krakow, Poland. And I'm a survivor because I was on Schindler's list. I survived with my mother. And because of Oskar Schindler, I was able to grow up, have a life, get married, have children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren because Oskar Schindler.

Well the first 10 years of my life were wonderful. I am an only child, and my mom was one of seven siblings. My father was one of eight siblings, so I was surrounded by family-- aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins. I learned how to read very early in life because I loved the books. And I remember, especially one evening, my mom went to visit her parents who lived right around the corner from our house.

And I remember sitting. I still see myself sitting at this little round table with the candles on and reading a book, the fairy tales by the Grimm Brothers. Every Sunday morning, either my father would take me places. I remember my father taking me to the zoo. I remember my aunt-- one of my aunts and uncles took me to see a movie. There was a special theater in Krakow that, every Sunday morning, had plays for children.

Krakow was a beautiful and still is a beautiful city, and all my pre-war memories are just full of fun and good things that were happening to me personally. I was not aware of antisemitism at the time, even though I heard people talk about. But basically, my parents spoke Yiddish to each other when they didn't want me to understand.

How to Cite This Video

Facing History & Ourselves, “Rena Finder on Life before the Holocaust,” video, last updated April 14, 2022.

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