Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Franka Charlupski - November 19, 1981

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Did you ever have any difficulty talking to people about the war?

Right in the beginning when we lived in Tulsa. Uh, it was a lovely community. Very nice people and they treated us royally. And they would come and visit with us, and they would say, "Is it really true what we read, and what we saw on television what was going in Europe." And said, "I don't think it's only true, I think it was even worse." And these people would leave; I would get so upset with myself. "Why wouldn't they believe that?" Not realizing that anybody that didn't live through this can't comprehend it. It took me three years that I lived here that I myself started doubting, "Did you do all these things? Did you go through all that?" Then I realized, "How could these people that in their wildest dreams--I mean, how could they understand it, if I'm beginning to doubt it?" Do you follow me? Not--I wasn't doubting it, I was just thinking it, "Is it possible? Could any human being go through something like that?"

So you stopped talking about it?

No. no I didn't. I didn't. It just--we didn't live long--we lived three months in Tulsa.

Did anybody ever tell you not to talk about it?

No. no. I don't do everything everybody tells me, you know. I have my own mind.

Yeah, I can see that. Did um, you told your children about it?

Yes. Uh, it didn't come out that I was just sitting and telling them. We were--when things came up and there was an occasion to compare, like my--they knew already my favorite thing was, if they opened the refrigerator, "Nothing to eat," and the refrigerator was full. I says, "Oh yeah, just think a little bit. I can tell you what is there is nothing to eat." I would bring in things as the conversation would be. I didn't come out and say, "Oh, this and this happened here and this and this happened there." We were talking about something, I would bring it up.

Did they watch the movie Holocaust?

Yes. My daughter and I--my son watched by himself. But my daughter happened--that's an interesting thing--my daughter happened to be home from Israel--yeah, she was back already. And when they were showing Holocaust she says, "Mom, are you sure you wanna watch it with me?" And I says, "Yeah." And she didn't know for what reasons. My reasoning was I wanted to see her reaction to it. I really didn't want to watch it, but I wanted to see her expressions, her feelings. What's happening? And I would tell her, as the program progressed, I would tell her what was going to come next from certain parts, that I knew, that I was there. And she said, "It's amazing, yeah, it's vivid. It's right in front of my eyes. I was right there." And it made, it made, it made it easier for her to watch it--watching it with me.

Think she felt closer to you at that time?

Well, we were always, we were always--we were a very close family. Not just with my children, with my whole--my nephews and nieces. We were very close. I don't know if it's because of our experiences of our life before, but we happened to be the envy of the town, not because that were comfortable but because of our family.

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