Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Birnholtz - July 28, 1982


Do you talk about it sometimes? Do you ever dream about this?

I have many times dreams, yes.

Uh, do--are there certain things that come back to you, certain, certain dreams--certain episodes?

Oh yeah, I get up sometimes in a very bad mood because I had a bad dream or something.

But are there certain dreams that keep on coming back? Is it the same thing over and over again, or...

Well, not lately, not lately. I'm trying to, to get away from that. I'm trying my best to live a normal life.

Uh, do you think that this should be told to your children?

I think so, yes.

One more question. Do you uh, uh, you ran into--can, can you sum up your, your attitudes uh, that came out of the concentration camp? Can--do you--how do you feel about other people, people who aren't Jews, for example?

Well, I am very--we are very surprised. We hope that uh, people learned their lesson. But somehow, I mean, the tragic thing the people leave the people who live in Israel, because most of the people that live in Israel suffered the same as me that they let them live in peace. But people don't understand unless they go through themselves those things. So I hope maybe someday by me, what you recorded me and other people that tell the stories, I hope that maybe it will help.

Thank you very much.

You're welcome.

[interruption in interview]

Are you recording, right--we had to--I was working in ???, but I don't remember exactly at the time whether it was the big ghetto or the small ghetto. And it was Zwangsarbeit so I had to unload a train every day with coal. Summer and winter I had coal in the nose, in the mouth and all over and the dust in my eyes. And we had--by five o'clock in the evening that train had to be unloaded. I would be shot. Every day I had with two people, we had to unload the train with coal, this I remember too. It reminds me of what I went through.

Uh, comes anytime, huh?

Any time. If it's sunny I remind myself what went through on a sunny day. When it's winter, I remind myself what I went through in the snow, in the ???, in the cold days. How it was to stay at this airport, the wind blowing at you. You can't talk to the next person and you don't know if you're going to come home.

Have you ever been back--have you ever gone back to Poland?

I don't want to go back to Poland because it would be very depressing for me because the whole city-- mostly Jewish people it would remind me of every stone--I remember every--probably where somebody lived and I would be just crying. Just remind me of everything so, so I wouldn't want to go, go see it again. 1

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