Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bella Camhi - November 18, 1999


The following is an interview with Mrs. Bella Camhi at her home in Oak Park, Michigan on November 18, 1999. The interviewer is Sidney Bolkosky.

Could you tell me your name please?

Bella Camhi.

And your maiden name?

No maiden name. We don't use maiden names

What was your name before you were married?

Oh, oh! I thought you uh, Chico.



Little one.


And where are you from?

I'm from Salon...I was born in Salonika, Greece.

Um, tell me a little about Salonika before the war.

I--is not much to say because we grew up there so poor. Nothing good to say, for me.

Uh-huh. Well, how big was your family?

With uh, four children. We were four siblings, a mother and a father. But a big family behind. I mean, they all knew how to have kids.

[laughs] Uh, and the siblings?

Two girls, two boys. Ages from eighteen down to five.

When the war started.

When--like today we were taken off.

Um, was it a religious family, your family?

Very, very. And now I'm not today. Very. It was so absurd to push it that high, you know. As I was growing older, so I have my belief that God didn't say for you to walk three miles to go to shul.

Is that what you did? Is that what your father did?

Yeah, oh yeah. Oh yeah, we wa...first of all, we didn't even have a place where to stay. Four children, I don't think it was as big as the living room.

Your house, you mean.

Right. It was a barrack.

So what, one room, two room...

One room.

What did your father do? [interruption in interview]

So he work...uh, he was uh, working at tobacco factory.

A tobacco factory. And what was your mother like?

My mother was a beautiful lady. Gorgeous. I mean, her beauty, that can't be replace. I have a daughter looks just like her. And the miseries makes you more misery. No, there was nothing good to say, nothing. I mean, God bless America. America's my country.

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