Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bella Camhi - November 18, 1999

Outbreak of War

Okay let's, let's talk a little bit about 1941.

This--the war started in 1938. In 1938 all of a sudden we had a sky full of airplanes. The Italian tried to choke us.


In no time at all the Italian and the Germans they became ???. Friends.


So the, the Germans didn't arrive uh, uh, in Greece 'til 1941.

What, what happened when the Italians tried to...

??? to me. [telephone rings]

Uh, all of a sudden...

This was totally unexpected to you.

All of a sudden, I'm telling you, instead of uh, blue skies, we have whatever the Italian flag was you know, the airplanes. I remember this like this minute. Like this minute. They were shooting bombs like anything. No warning whatsoever. So uh, in '38 I was thirteen years old. Ten to twenty-five yeah. I was born in 1925. '38 I was thirteen years old. Uh, the concentration camp, I, I could uh, read it in the paper, you know. It was a, a big spiel that we're going to go, they have condominiums for us. With big letters...


you know. And I guess a thirteen year old when your life is so mixed up already uh, you want a survival. It can't be so bad you know, the way they reported in the newspaper.

In 1938 you were already reading about concentration camps?

Yeah, it was in the paper, yeah.

About Italian concentration camps.

No, no, no, no, no...

German concentration camps.

The German, yeah.

So you knew what was going on in Germany.

Oh yeah, we knew, but we don't know that uh, this was uh, uh, such a tragedy. We--you know, we believe what it was in the paper, but this is not what it was in the paper. It was just writing so people are suckers to go like the lambs.

D...did any bombs fall near your house?

Su...my, my house, my house...

Your barracks, wherever. The place you live.

No, no they--you see they're too far where, where, where we are, you know. It was an area that, that was there uh, uh, for uh, armies. Uh, like the armory here.



And they were bombing the center of the city.

They bombing in the you know, downtown.

How long...

The big buildings.

how long did that last?

Oh, not long you know, because the Greeks uh, they win without winning.

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