Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Szymon Binke - June 16, 1997

Sharing Experience

Did you tell her about uh, your experiences in the war?

At first I couldn't talk too much about it. But in time, you know, a little here and a little there, yes.

Why couldn't you talk about it?

I don't know. I guess I didn't want to talk about it.

Did you and your father talk about it?


To each other?

Yeah. With my uncles, yes. But I couldn't talk about it to somebody that didn't go through it.

So did you meet other survivors here?

Oh yeah.

Same age?

No. Most of them are older.

But as a group, did you, when you got, when you'd get together as a group, would you talk about it with them?

Yeah. We probably still do, if I get together with some of them, you know.

Um, do you think anybody wanted to listen?

I don't know. Didn't seem like it. Nobody asked us. All we were is the greenhorns.

What do you think about all this interest now in the...

That's what's, that's what uh, surprises me. I guess we are the few left. If, if, if, if we don't tell the story, it'll be forgotten.

Did you see Schindler's List?


What, what's your reaction to the movie, or the, the response to the movie?

It was all right. The--that uh, Plásow was a good camp. They had a lot of food. They were together with their families. You know, big deal, so he shot a few people.

Um, do you think it's strange that, that survivors now are in such demand and...

Yes. Like I, I told you that. All of a sudden we became celebrities. You should have, you should have uh, contacted me uh, twenty, twenty-five years ago. I would have remembered much more than I do now. A lot of it is forgotten.

Would you have told me then?

If you were as gentle as you are now, I would have. Probably.

But nobody asked.


Did you ever start to tell people and, and have them...

No, no.

How did they react to you?

We didn't talk about it.

You didn't talk about the war at all?

No, they...

Did anybody in the United States talk...


Did any Americans tell you what was...

Oh yeah. They told us how tough it was when they came, after the First World War. We had it easy. Well, they had it tough. They probably didn't get as much help as some of us did.

Did you respond to that?

What can you respond?

You could tell them about Auschwitz.

No, no.

Do you think, do you think, do you think any of us can understand this?

Uh, to tell you the truth, if I was in your shoes, I wouldn't either. It's, you can't tell as much as it happened. I mean, there's no words to describe it. How can you kill somebody for, for nothing? And not only one person. Day in and day out, thousands and thousands of people. There was no reason for it. And it still happens nowadays. You have the same thing going on in Bosnia, Herzegovina, in, in uh, where is it there in South Africa, still kill uh, over religion.

Do you think it was over religion?

What else? They killed us because we're Jews.

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