Listen to Australia 9, a 51-year-old man from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Click or tap the triangle-shaped play button to hear the subject.
DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 1949
PLACE OF BIRTH: Lodz, Poland (but raised in Melbourne)
ETHNICITY: Caucasian (Polish-Jewish)
OCCUPATION: He broadcasts in Yiddish on Special Broadcasting Service radio.
AREA(S) OF RESIDENCE OUTSIDE REPRESENTATIVE REGION FOR LONGER THAN SIX MONTHS:
The speaker lived in Poland for the first ten years of his life before setting in Melbourne.
OTHER INFLUENCES ON SPEECH:
He and his parent’s first language was Yiddish, and then they learned to speak Polish in Poland. When the family moved to Australia, the speaker learned to speak English.
RECORDED BY: Geraldine Cook
DATE OF RECORDING (DD/MM/YYYY): 2000
PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF SCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A
TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A
ORTHOGRAPHIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH:
I was born in Lodz, Poland, in 1949. And I’ve been in Australia since 1959 — that makes it almost exactly forty years now. [Interviewer: And why did you parents choose to immigrate to Australia?] Following the … the war when they returned to Poland and found, ah, most of the relatives had been, ah, killed during the Holocaust, they … there was a lot of pressure and desire to leave Poland. And there was a choice between Israel at that time and a few other countries — Australia, Canada were the main ones. And, ah, Israel was embroiled in the Suez Crisis at the time. My parents were scared that there would be another war and that I would be eventually involved in fighting, ah, in war and so Australia came up as an opportunity and they chose Australia as being as far away as possible from any troubles and, um, also one that obviously promised a better lifestyle. Following a long month, ah, long passage over this oceans [sic] was wonderfully exciting. We arrived to a very flat landscape and, ah, city that seemed to barely rise above the horizon. And that surprised me. I thought that Melbourne was a big city. But of course the buildings were very flat compared to Europe and, ah, spread out. Um, the feeling was of a … almost a holiday town by the seaside. And when we ventured further into town we’re surprised that there were hardly any people walking in the streets. We tried to find out where people actually lived, where the city was and were told that nobody lives in the city itself, being the Central Business District. We were very disappointed; particularly my father who wanted to live in, what he termed, a “real city,” not the village. So the first impressions were rather, rather pessimistic, I think. [And could you describe perhaps some of your early memories of an Australian school?] Yes, it was, compared to the Polish, ah, school …Polish/Yiddish/Jewish school that I went to, this was a school that seemed to be very rigid in the Anglo tradition of lining up, of drums beating, of children being strapped on the hand for the slightest misdemeanor, and being addressed like little soldiers. Whereas in Poland we were given love and affection and taught all the right moral things that should be…the way you should conduct your life. So Australia seemed a very harsh, cruel place. The yard seemed to be a place where you either were part of a gang or you were being picked on by the gang. And there was a, a bit of a jungle atmosphere, ah, which I later discovered was, um, just good old Australian freedom that kids are given at that age, ah, and it takes a while before you learn the language and can cope with it. [Can you describe an incident, um, that you remember from, from those times?] You’re probably referring to my … the finest incident of “the lollies.” Everybody seemed to rush off at the first opportunity of getting out of class to the little shop at the end of the path, um, at the end … at the bottom of the school where you could buy lollies. And, ah, I bought a bag of little lollies, um, sweets and, um, discovered, ah … according to Polish tradition you’re supposed to share with people around you and I did this, ah, dutifully. I held out my little bag only to discover that my whole bag of lollies was soon swiped — in about 3 seconds it disappeared and I was left without a lolly at all, which was not the done thing. The last child would never take the last lolly of the person who gave them out. But, as I said, this was quite a different morality operating here. [You spoke two other languages before you arrived in Melbourne. Maybe you could tell us what they are … you still speak them. And what’s you involvement with those languages n… is today in Melbourne?] Yes. My first language was Yiddish — mother tongue if you like, “mame loshn”—and then I gradually learned Polish as well, which tended to dominate once you, I started going to school of course. But I kept up both. As I said, I went to a school, which taught Yiddish as a second language.
TRANSCRIBED BY: Mitchell Kelly
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): 15/01/2008
PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION OF UNSCRIPTED SPEECH: N/A
TRANSCRIBED BY: N/A
DATE OF TRANSCRIPTION (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A
SCHOLARLY COMMENTARY: N/A
COMMENTARY BY: N/A
DATE OF COMMENTARY (DD/MM/YYYY): N/A
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