Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bella Camhi - November 18, 1999

Getting Married

So you went home to try to find them.

No, I was in love already. You know, he was, he was in love with me. If I show you, I'm telling you. The guys were hungry for uh, look how many years. And they thought, if I you know, those innocent victim, that's it. And not in my book. In my book, in my religion, I was grown--raised that everything comes in time. You get married, then it's the love that you have. But before, we don't believe in it. I just don't believe in that.

So you thought that love would come after the marriage.

So we were with this bunch of guys and I, I says, I made my piece. I said, "Listen, just stay away from me. Just stay--I ain't bothering you, you don't bother me. I don't want you to call, I don't want anything. Just leave me alone." Listen, I was human too. Yeah, I'm twenty years old. But you won't see anybody I will approach. No way.


Uh, why? I was too young. So what happened to me that I got married twenty years old? Not enough I lost two and a half, three years there. You lose more years by getting married. I, I don't know, I didn't develop. I didn't have no fun.

So this should have been the time that you had...

Right. I should have been you know, judging, do whatever. You know, not to, to get somebody to support you.

What was your husband's name?

Sam. Sam Camhi.

And this was the man who... He, he wanted to marry you.

Oh. I mean, even when he died, I'm telling you, uh, I just can't believe when guys or girls--it's takes two to, to make a marriage. When somebody says I love you so much and you're treated you know, the way that you're treated. Where the love comes after.

I see, and you have to be, turn 'em down.

Oh no, no. They know me but uh, you see, even today uh, I can stay alone. It don't bother me. I won't provoke. In this matter, I won't uh, but the men over there they were bananas. They were going crazy. And the girl was going crazy themselves, then you know, there is nothing wrong with it if you want it. Nothing wrong. But this was not in my book. See, my grandpa, I didn't met him, he was a rabbi. Uh, all my cousins, male and female, they was schoolteachers. Hebrew schoolteachers. I mean, that thing, you get it anywhere.

Were there a lot of marriages, quick marriages after the war?

We were not quick marriage.

But, but were there other...

We were six months, you know.

people, you know.

Sure, we couldn't get married because we didn't have a rabbi. Everybody got killed. So if you don't have a rabbi, how you going to get married? Not uh, anybody. The religion that was very, very, very strong. Uh, my son Jack you know, he wasn't uh, uh, brised 'til a year and a half old.


We had no rabbi.

So how did you get married?

Oh no, no. We, they uh, we have a rabbi, we had to wait. If the rabbi didn't show up, we...

So he came, he was coming one place to another.

Right. He was jumping, you know. And then, when he was born, he was in another place. He had to go and we have to wait a year and a half 'til he was circumcised.

So you told your future husband to, to stay away for awhile.

Oh no, it doesn't matter. I didn't tell him to stay away. He was going to. You have to stay away.

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