Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bella Camhi - November 18, 1999


Do you have anything you want to say for the tape. I mean, my students are going to hear some of this.

Oh, they can hear the whole thing. I just wanted to--for them to realize that it happened. It's not just saying. It happened. People were there.

You worry about deniers, Holocaust deniers. People who say it didn't happen.

I do. It upsets me. I'm not worried. But I'm uh, because I always have the fear that it's going to happen again. And I hope I'm not here. I hope I'm not here. What is there to say? It's nothing you can say, beginning or end. It was a thing nobody dreamt. Nobody. I mean, when all this started a year before. We had a lieutenant, a Greeks, big shot. He says "Aaron, leave me four, all the four kids here. You want to go, go you and your wife. Don't take the kids with you." They were all the same stubborn. Because is a lot of people who got saved. You put your skin on the, you know. You put yourself at risk, but is a lotta people who were safe without the ???. Like that cousin of mine. He didn't want me to go. He says, "I'll save my wife and I'll save you too."

But your father--your father's name was Aaron.


And your mother's name?

Mazel Tov, ???

Mazel Tov. And they decided not to leave.

No. Oh I was ready to leave it. I was ready, because my intuition was telling me uh, something bad is gonna happen. It, it happened already. And uh, because I ran away from home at fourteen. Found me a place. You know, I work. I was taking care of a arthritis person. This is why I believe maybe I caught it from her.


Then I treat a lady here in America. I says "I," the matter a fact, I go like crazy everyday. "Elsie, I did so good for you, you think you know, I think I caught it from her." But I feel very good by doing this. But in the other place uh, I have room and board, nothing but the best. The life of Riley. And I had to leave it all this to go back home with them. And not only that, they used to make up their carriage everyday and throw it with a rope down in my little sister will come back and take it for the others to take it. Things were tough. [pause] Yeah.

And how long have you, have you lived here?

Forty-four years, going on forty-five.

In this--in Oak Park?

Right here.

It's a nice place.

I love this house. I love this house. I loved it when I saw it. Uh, this house was uh, built from scratch like they say. And we believe to put a, a, an eye, a witch's eye you know, and garlic and a pa...package of sugar when you dig the ground.


???, you know. But this is what they do when they have a baby. The put a--when Jack bought a house and it was not on ??? I gave him the same thing. Uh, an evil eye.

Evil eye. Keina hora.

Keina hora, you know.


And I, I have one too, I wear it too. And uh, forty-four years. In December coming uh, it's going to be forty-four. Love this place. I wish I could move it someplace else. Where do you live?

Oak Park.

Oak Park where?

Oak Park Boulevard.

Oh, are you between uh, church or the other?

We're almost in Ferndale.

Oh that far out.

Yeah. Twenty-seven years.

Well, you're a Spring chicken.

Thank you.

I told you look how many younger a year--listen, I been there. I was fifty too. [Laughing]

We should stop there, I think. Thank you very much.


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