Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Barbara Schechter Cohen - May 1, 2002

Thoughts on Being a Survivor

Did you ever think of yourself when you were a kid as a survivor as well?

I never thought of myself as a survivor un...until the last ten years--fifteen years. I would feel guilty about thinking of myself as a survivor because I don't remember suffering like they suffered. How could I put myself in the same category? But then I started reading, doing a lot of reading and uh, I, I came to the conclusion you know, I'm a, I'm a survivor too because I lost my family, my childhood you know, um, my sense of comfort.

When did you start doing that?

Reading? Um, at some point when I was married, I, I think, as a....

Was there anything that sort of touched it off? A, a lot of people started to read about it in 1978 when the Holocaust series was on television. Was there anything like that, like maybe building the memorial center?

You know, it could, could very well have been. It very could--it could have been. Um, it could have been.

And did you insist that your children watch that television show?

I insisted. And they did.

And how did they react? How did ,you react when you watched it?

Um, I, I, I think I was um, relieved to think that, that there's something uh, public about the Holocaust you know, that, that I could relate to. Whether they uh, embellished it or not, that the world should know a little bit more about us as survivors. Um, so I was uh, I was glad that there were you know, things, you know, public things coming out, you know.

What about your children? How did they react to it?


So, how old were they when...

They were teenagers. And um, well, it was a stupid thing to expect. I was--I guess I was expecting some sympathy. "Gee, mom, what you went through and what you know, your parents went through," and I, I don't remember getting it.

Instead you got silence.

Yeah, yeah.

And your parents, did they watch it?

I'm sure they did.

But they didn't talk to you about it.

I, I, I don't remember.

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