Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bella Camhi - November 18, 1999

Conditions in Salonika

What, what was that like?

Oh uh, well, he had uh, some property. Uh, he had a few homes if you could taken it from the Goyim, you know.


The Goyim didn't want you even to come back. They want you dead, over there. You know, "Why you came back? Why didn't kill you?"

Did they...

Oh, it was another...

did someone say that to you?

Oh yeah, sure! Another farmer they took everything. He was well, well, well off. He was very wealthy. It was a wealthy family. I mean, not uh, specific my husband, but uh, their parents. They all have you, they were, they were in uh, moving uh, transportation. You know, moving, uh...


Van. Well, not van, horse and carriage. [laughs] So uh, and the trauma going with the, the stupid Goyim that they tell you is their house. So you have to have another fight there. So finally we give up our homes because he was going to kill somebody. He grab a Goyim one day from here. "Do you see this?" He say, "I'm going to squeeze it a little harder." So finally the Joint gave us a nice place. So we had a place for our own.


And guess what? My teacher was living on ???. And this was so nice. It was really nice.

Why was it nice?

Uh, it was my teacher from so many years.

And did, did you take lessons with anybody?

With her? Yeah, I had Jack and Tilly for lessons.



Okay. But it was nice to have her there.

It was nice because first of all, like now, this is reminiscing fifty years life. And with her you know, from first grade. She will take second grade, she won't go fourth grade, you know. And--Heria was her name. Uh, such a beautiful uh.... I guess you have to wanted to learn. That's number one. Uh, we blame the teachers. We gotta blame the kids too. Because if there's nothing in Kop you can't fill it up.

Yeah. Was it hard living in Salonika?

Was it hard. Not with him, you know. He, he was well off. But... You know.

But just walking through the streets, did it bother you?

No I didn't... You know, when I came in United States, somebody come up to me and say, "Don't you ever say you're Jewish." "Fine." I heard you and I go here, Belmont and Company, I don't know if you know. He's a, a, it was a, a grocery store right at the corner. We became very good friends and you know, we used to go there shopping, my friend--I also had a friend. I says, "Listen uh, Leon, I am Jewish. He says to me, why are you telling me that?" I said, "I want to warn you that I'm not any different that you are. If your God is any different than mine, show it to me."

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