Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bella Camhi - November 18, 1999


Do you think about it when you hear the news? When you hear about Kosovo and Rwanda.

Well, this made me very upset. This made me very like I was there, from day one. Yeah. I, I wanted to be there like the president's wife. I would have loved to be there to comfort those people. Would have loved to. Because only a person who goes through can believe that, to destroy everything. You don't have much. Those people don't have much. And they destroy everything. Oh yeah. My friend didn't like it, that's too bad. This is the way I feel. How did we feel when this happened to us?

Was there a lot of anti-Semitism in Salonika before...


the war?

If anybody tells you no, you better don't believe it. And you know, I was fine of the Gentiles. They loved me because I spoke the language with the ???. You know, like, the way they want it, perfect. I went to school for it. This is what I was take. And they loved people when they spoke their own language you know, because the Jewish people it's like the Yid- there. You go in a group, all the talking is Yiddish. I says "You know, this is America. You want to talk your private language, you speak it in your house, not in crowds." And I understand Jewish and Polish and German. This is not the point. The point is you know, that uh, when you are in a crowd you speak the language that you are on it.


I never, never speak Greek. The matter of fact, we always speak English in here. It was wrong, but it's too late now, because I would have loved my kids to speak Greek.

Not Ladino.

Well, they took it in school. The, then it seems that the--no.


Greek is our, is my family, my mother's language.

More than Ladino.

Oh yeah. You see, uh, Spanish is Mischlinge, they stole it. [laugh] It's, it's a, it's a foreign you know, so it's Turkey. So uh, in 1912 the ???, ??? was there too you know, the uh oh God, I mentioned it before. Where the Israeli don't like him. Oh God, it's another race you know, that is very strong against the Jews.

You mean, the Palestinians.

No, no, no. The other one.

Another country? Syria?

No, no, not within the Middle East, in near Russia.

Oh. Albania. You were talking about Albania.

No, this is far out, over here. No. Oh God, we just mentioned it before.

The Ukrainians, near Russia.


Oh. The Armenians don't like the Israelis, do you think?

The Armenians don't like the Jews period. Period. You don't have to tell 'em you're Jewish, they pick up that you're Jewish. They got the biggest punishment, so I heard, so I read, you know. They got a slit, uh...

It was a genocide, yeah. The Turks.

So everybody's goes through one trauma.

Everybody's got...

Yeah. Uh, I mean look at the 1950, in 1948. You're talking about the people who fall in the bridge down in the water. Look at the two boats that sunk with all the refugees from concentration camp. They didn't live through to tell the story.

On Cyprus, going to Cyprus.


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