Oral history
Zeugen der Geschichte

Daniel Huberman

Name des Gesprächspartners:
Familienname des Gesprächspartners:
Józef Markiewicz
Przemysław Jaczewski
19th August 2017
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
März '68

Interlocutor biogram

Daniel Huberman was born in Nowa Ruda, where he attended the Friends of Children Society school, and then the Senior High School No.1. In Warsaw, he studies at the Medical Laboratory Technicians School and, in 1968, he is accepted into the Biology Department of Warsaw University. He does not take an active part in the student rallies, but he does observe the public, antisemitic campaign. “I didn’t feel Jewish, but I noticed that everything was more and more directed towards me”. Daniel also sees the impact of the campaign on his fiancé’s family. Her parents, employed in important positions, lose their jobs. His brother worked in Polmozbyt, in an office which has contact with foreign countries. He is demoted.

Following Władysław Gomułka’s speech, Daniel Huberman decides to emigrate. In 1968, he also sees more of his friends leaving Poland. He gives up his studies and, together with his fiancé, makes the decision to emigrate. His mother and brother refuse to leave – the same as does Daniel’s wife’s family. At the end of September 1969, they reach Sweden. They go to a refugee reception centre, where they live from October to May in the following year. Daniel gets works distributing newspapers. He and his wife leave the centre (thus declining any further help from the Swedish state) and come to Lund, where they undertake an intensive Swedish language course and further studies in the Biology Department.

After three years, he begins work as a researcher at the Oncology Clinic in Lund. He studies medicine and graduates, specialising in lung diseases. He is till professionally active. Daniel Huberman stresses that, when emigrating, he felt Polish. “When we landed here, we were Poles with Jewish origins – now we are Jews and Poles”. However, the March’68 campaign brought about an enforced categorization: “If others consider you different, then you are different. Emigration for economic reasons has been talked about but, when we left, we were thinking of matters of principle”.


Recording circumstances description

The conversation took place in the interviewee’s apartment in Lund.

Recording summary

  1. Interviewee’s tertiary studies; 00:08:00
  2. The events of March’68 at Warsaw University, the antisemitic campaign in the press; 00:09:20
  3. Interviewee’s fiancé as a student: his Jewish origins, his parents’ background and professional work (his father – as Director of Polimex, his mother worked in the Department of Foreign Work Observation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs); 00:10:00
  4. The situation of Interviewee immediate family in 1968; 00:12:00
  5. Dismissals in his wife’s family; 00:14:00
  6. The reasons for Daniel’s emigration from Poland - separation from his family; 00:17:00
  7. Their first weeks in Sweden: their stay at the emigrant reception centre, emigrants from Czechoslovakia, his first job, coming to Lund; 00:18:20
  8. Studying biology in Lund; obtaining loans to study; receiving his degree in biology and undertaking studies in medicine; 00:21:00
  9. Information about Daniel’s parents: change of name; 00:29:00
  10. Decision of the emigration – the reaction of members of his family; his choice of country of destination; 00:31:15
  11. Daniel’s identity in 1968: “I felt very Polish then”; 00:35:00
  12. As an emigrant, becoming interested in Jewish traditions and Judaism; 00:36:00
  13. Daniel’s childhood in Legnica; 00:40:00
  14. His reaction to the March antisemitic rhetoric (Gomułka’s speech) – “Because I was not a believer, for a long time, I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that, here, I was an alien. It took me a long time to decide to be a Jew – here, in Sweden”; 00:42:30
  15. Personal identity in the Swedish context; attitude towards Israel; 00:47:00
  16. The specificity and diversity in the March emigration to Sweden; 00:53:00
  17. “I treated my leaving as if it was an abortion. An abortion, in medical language, is how a fetus is rejected by the body”; 00:56:00
  18. The reactions of those around Interviewee to the Six-Day War; 00:57:30
  19. His work as an x-ray assistant in 1969; 01:01:00
  20. Practical preparations to leave: translating documents; a description of his luggage; 01:03:00
  21. The train journey - Moscow-Warsaw-Berlin-Trelleborg-Stockholm: train delays, buying tickets from the Russian conductor, members of his family accompanying him to the border; 01:05:00
  22. Acceptance by the Swedish authorities; 00:56:30
  23. Communicating with Interviewee’s family who had remained in Poland; 01:13:00
  24. Missing Warsaw; 01:18:00
  25. Daniel’s attempt to visit Poland, by ferry to Świnoujście, after obtaining Swedish citizenship; 01:20:00
  26. Interviewee’s mother’s visits to Sweden; 01:22:00
  27. The balance of emigration; the March emigrants as Polish ambassadors to the world, “I’m not called that Jews, I’m called that Pole”; 01:24:00
  28. The attitude of March emigrants to contemporary Poland; 01:28:00
  29. His emotional attitude to Poland; 01:28:00
  30. The significance of March in the contemporary context – his considerations about freedom, democracy, a broad, unblinkered view of the world, freedom of thought, the freedom to be different; “March was a symptom of the lack of freedom”; 01:32:00
  31. Knowledge of the Polish language by Interviewee’s children; summer camps in Sweden, organised by March emigrants; 01:40:00
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