Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bella Camhi - November 18, 1999

Outbreak of War (Continued)

They won without winning.


H...how did they do that?

Uh, they think they always win, but they don't. [laughs] They're very, very fantas...uh, their fantasy is so big. And that is good, you know. I mean, even if you lose. Because they did uh, to uh, [pause] what is that small uh, we happened to be visiting in Salonika, Greece uh, in 1973. And here they announce that the sounds in the hotel. Cyprus you know, when they have the war. All the American people you know, to get the you-know-what outta here. And uh, we were just in time to leave. But people who just arrive, I ha... "I'm leaving, I'm not staying here."

So you went back to Salonika.

Oh, I been twice. I been twice. I would like to go now, but as you see me, I don't know. I'm a very sick human being. I have cripple--and rheumatoid arthritis all over.

Oh, I'm sorry.

No, I, listen, people have cancer, people have--nothing you can do. So, the government here doesn't take care of you to go outside, out of the country.

Well when the, when the Italians came...


they didn't--they only flew over. They didn't--there were no...

It was just a twenty-four hour thing.

Twenty-four hour thing.

And the, they say, they made us own, they won the, the, the ??? and is a, it's a Greek song.

So everybody won.



And, and the winnings was going worse and worse and worse everyday. But just for the Jewish people. You see, people didn't have to go to concentration camp. We wanted to go because we wanted to stay together.

This was in '43.


Yeah. Tell me...

Or even before, when it started in 1941. The only thing about the Germans that it was good, they hated a Jewish woman. A human being.

Why was that?

Uh, I guess it's in their blood, I don't know.

Why was that good?

Because they didn't use us.

Oh, I see, I see.

It was a blessing. Oh no. They used to call you, you know, a bad word.


Like uh, verfluchte Yid.

Oh. Can you translate that? Do you know what the German is?

Oh no. That's a four-letter word. So this is what was our name. Verfluchte Yid. So...

So this--in 1941, the Germans came, is that right?

Oh, God.

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