Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Life After the War

Did you want to go back to Warsaw?

Well, I was slowly, you know, when Warsaw was captured, you know, I started thinking about going back. And I really had mixed feelings if I should go back or I shouldn't go back. I knew that there was nobody alive.

You knew that?

I knew that.

When did you know?

We knew, we heard that the Warsaw ghetto was destroyed and by that time, you know, it was common talk already in the villages, you know, they destroyed all the Jews and so on. I figured, where am I gonna go? Maybe, I shouldn't even be going back. Maybe this is ??? the only life. Maybe there shouldn't be any Jews, you know?

You thought that?

Yeah, I thought that very seriously. I mean what's wrong with this life? These people are never afraid of uh, extinction. Their, their life is guaranteed. They have lived and they are, you know, multiplying and they have a right to own property and everything and I'm the only one that's uh, that's banned. Maybe I should just cross over and stay on. So, anyway, I had these thoughts back and forth because I felt I already, you know, I was already acclimated and I was a part of that society. Talked like them, walked like them, acted like them. And then I said, "I'll make one trip, you know, to Warsaw, and see what I can find and then close that chapter forever." And uh, I don't know if you heard me tell this story about I rode around in the streetcar in Wars...uh, Praga for practically three quarters of the day. And on one street, I saw there were people congregating outside, and I saw a sign that they are registering surviving Jews. And I remember the talk on the uh, streetcar every time the streetcar would pass by--I kept riding the streetcar--there were people, would look out and see this and they'd say, "Look, the Jews are back. They didn't kill off all of them. Hitler didn't do his job." I mean this was the talk. And I said to myself, "Do I want to go down there and identify with them? Look, nothing is changed. The war is over and it's the same thing." So then I said, "Well, I've got to make a decision. I'll get down and just walk and pretend like I'm not one of them and, you know, take a look around and get out." So, I got down--got off the car, and I got in there and I started, you know, hearing talk in Yiddish and everybody was--people were telling each other stories where they came from and so on. And I just, that was it. I couldn't go back anymore. I never went back.

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