Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Marton Adler - July 13, 1989

Reflections on the Holocaust

I'm going to ask you some questions about your view of the experience. Did you have nightmares after the war was over?

Yes, oh, terrible nightmares. Oh terrible nightmares. Even today, I still have the nightmares, but not as frequent and not as intense, but in the beginning, I had such terrible nightmares. I mean I actually woke up everybody in a terrible, the night, I mean I didn't think about it in the daytime, I never thought about it, it was, I more or less concentrated to speak English without an accent, to do my school work good, to please my employer, I never even thought about it. Never even talked about it. But I had terrible, terrible nightmares. They went to this Fischoff, he's the head of Children's Hospital, I told him about it, he says "well, Marton, what we can do for you is this. There is a drug or a certain operation we can alter and you will forget all about that, but you forget everything else too. You will never remember your brothers, your father, your village and all that. Now you have to decide what you want." And I didn't, I'll think about what I want, so I'll tell you what, I'll just leave everything the way it is. But nightmares yes, very bad all the time even now. That isn't, well, any experience, for instance I was held up twice in this country, sometimes I have nightmare about the hold up, but as far as the camps, `till today always. I would say at least once a month, I still have real nightmares, I mean like you go to the selection or you're there when they are machine gunning people and you already got the bullet I mean terrible, terrible nightmares. Terrible nightmares.

Do you think about it during the day now, too?

No, no, no, no, well, once in a great while when I was like say for this interview, I was thinking a little bit, then I just thought, but I don't think really all the suffering, what I really think they obliterated, all the--I mean they, when are these people, what did of all these people do, that they deserved such a terrible, terrible punishment. I mean what did they do? What did these children do, or they say woman and children, what about the grownups, or anybody? What, my God, here a murderer, a murderer that kills somebody in cold blood, uh, cruel and unusual punishment, capital punishment, a big discussion, pro and con, pro and con with each one has their side. It's just unbelievable, I mean it's just unbelievable, here a man dies at 66, my, he was a young man, well 70 was a young man. Those, they died from the age of one day to in their 20's and their teens and their 30's, I mean, educated people, laborers, high IQ's, low IQ's, who were denied the dignity to die a peaceful death. The more they thought of things, like I read a book, "The Holocaust" by Gilbert, which is Churchill's biographer, I mean all these terrible things what they did, to the gas vans, being buried alive, I mean just shoot a top and the rest, I mean fiction couldn't come up with that. So, I have a few nightmares.

Are there particular things that touch off memories of the camp, well....

No, not really, I'll tell you not really, but many times, a time like for instance if I, say I go out in my store let's say, and I see an old man could barely shuffle his feet, he drinks his coffee, he's all white, I say my God, what chance would he have if Mengele, if he has to go through Mengele. Then I look in the mirror at my age now, regardless of the guys that say, Marton you look good, what chance would I have and supposing Mengele would let me through, how long would I last uh digging there with a shovel at callisthenic pace without food, without clothing, without rest. And then I look in the street, well this one probably wouldn't go through this one, this one he would let through and how long would this person last? Even if he was in perfect health. After a month or so he'd be gone, too. So these things come to you but you got every day, your daily, your daily responsibilities, your daily joys, I mean I just became a grandfather, I got a cute little granddaughter, I got a wonderful daughter that could be a model human being, so, a beautiful son-in-law. I got good friends. I got you, you came here.

What did you think of when you saw the baby?

Well, um, okay. Um, I'm the same and I'm different than anybody else, too. That goes for everybody. Okay, experience and all that big loss from all this family, in other words, I became a grandfather and my son-in-law's parents became grandparents. But, their experience, it's not my experience. Not that I am, if anything, I am more grateful than they are. I'm not saying in terms of the grandchild, grateful for everything. But seeing this little grandchild of mine, and get so much love and so much attention, and here my little brother or sister died such a terrible death and my parents all that, I love it, I would die for it with pleasure, I mean we all, listen, look we have in this country ADC, Aid for Dependant Children, food stamp programs all that. Why? Because the parents don't care. If the parents would care really for these kids, even at minimum wage you could still make enough to feed a child. So, I am, I think I am very happy, and I will dedicate this tape to all those that perished in the camps, all those survivors that are here and suffered. I will dedicate this in particular to my family, to my wife, my two children, my daughter, my son-in-law, and most of all to my little granddaughter, Molly Rachel, which I love her very, very much and she'll grow up to be a beautiful person, and I hope she will never experience anything that I experienced, and she will not inflict any pain on others, and nobody shall inflict pain upon her. And the same prayer that they taught me when I was four or five or six, I sang it to her in her house, and I'll say it tonight, I mean today in this tape. The prayer goes, "I acknowledge to you everlasting King that lives forever, you return back my soul with much, much compassion. My belief in You is forever. First rule of wisdom is to be afraid of God to acknowledge God and to be a good human being." All those that are aware of that have good sense. God's help should be with all of us all the time. I am not bitter, but I am very, very sad that, that people can do this to other people and the same person could come home to his wife and his child, did you sleep good, and to do this to other human beings, that's a terrible, terrible thing. And that's how I feel about it. And this tape here may be that same granddaughter, Molly Rachel, maybe she'll be twelve or thirteen, I don't know if I'll be here or I won't be here, or if she'll be twenty, she will view it. She will see it with her friends and all that. If this tape will help a little bit, even one person, to see how not to be, how not to do, I will have accomplished something. If in this tape, I memorialized some of the people that were murdered for no reason at all, I think I did something. And I feel a little bit better by putting it for posterity, that's the least I could do, the least I could do, the fact that I survived for all these people that were murdered for no reason, doctors, lawyers, laborers, intelligent people, low intelligent, the least I could say, I survived, let me tell what, what happened to you people. And wherever you are, pray for us, pray for humanity that something like this should never happen to no human being ever, ever, ever.



Yes, thank you Marty.

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