Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bella Camhi - November 18, 1999

German Soldier

So you made a friend with one of the German soldiers?

Mm-hm. Yeah.

When was this?

In 1941, '42. And uh, up to the end. They would fill up you know, a bag. And I will take bread and butter and cheese you know, to the family.

How did you meet this man?

Oh, everybody was ru...it was new. It was something new. Our soldiers, they wore green uniform. Khaki. Uh, they are with the silver uniform, you know. So when they came, everybody was running like it was a movie.

And you introduced yourself to...

You weren't introduced. You know you know, I'm here you know, can you do something for me? I'm hungry, you know. Uh, and I lost the German, all of it. But if I go for six months, it'll come back to me.

And, and...

The real test, I will uh you know, it's a, it's a dream that you don't dream that this is going to happen.

But they brought you, he brought you food.

Oh yeah, a bread, you know. Once I, I got caught, he wasn't there, you know. I had the nerve you know, to, to take a stab, go get it. But the dog got me by the tail. I got more scars on my knees. Maybe this is why the arthritis is so bad.

The dog--you went out to get some food and the dog...

Yeah, the dog got...

caught you.

Yeah. But he came to the--he saved me. So he, he told the dog to stay and the dog pull away. But in the meantime he made me bleed, you know.

And how...

It's funny you know, like I, I j...I just can't believe how you can--I sit here sometimes now that I'm alone. How can you survive something like that? How do you live to tell about? [pause] It's not easy. It's unbelievable for me. It's a thing you know, that, how, how can you do that? Although the Chinese did worse. The Armenian did worse, they cut their head right away. So. And then my mother were, went through a trauma, there was a big fire in Salonika, Greece. Where the whole town got burned.

When was that?

In 1912.


Wiped up you know, like in Chicago here, the fire. Like we have a, a, a lot and you lose everything. And we had a--I lived through a couple of earthquakes. Good ones. And we had a snow that is never snow there, we had seven feet of snow. We locked, we got locked in the house, you know. I was not fully developed. We couldn't go out.

What year was that?


Before the war.

Oh yeah.

Long before the war.

Well, I, I will say I was--if it's not seven, I was not more than nine.

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