Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Barbara Schechter Cohen - May 1, 2002

Understanding Parents

Do you think you're freer now from all those burdens of the Holocaust?

Uh, yes. Because I've gone through so much in my younger days um, where I was feeling like I was getting depressed and I was so afraid that I was going to turn out like sick, like my mother, like my brother. Uh, my, my marriage wasn't going well and uh, I finally feel like um, I, I, I'm free in a way. I've gotten to understand my parents, my mother in particular. Um, and um, uh...

Have you forgiven them?

Definitely, definitely. I definitely have, have forgiven them. And that's exactly what--I relayed that to my mother, that she was um, a very brave woman and under the circumstances she did all that she could do. [crys] And it was my expectations that were screwed up, I guess. I, I wanted a mother. [crys] I don't know, maybe, maybe that wasn't--yeah, maybe it wasn't messed up. I--but I, I, I surmounted that. Um, I have gotten out of a, sort of, not a, not a good marriage. I, I stayed and I knew that from day one. And I stayed and um, because of uh, I don't know. My children. It wasn't the, the time to get divorced. Um, I was afraid to, to get divorced. Um, and I, I, I initiated that. And I surmounted that. It took me a long time to learn to um, live on my own.

Were both parents alive when you were divorced?

My, my mother, my mother was.

And what did she say when you got, when you got divorced?

I told you so. [laughs]

Oh she did say that. [laughs]

See, whenever she tried to tell me things about him, I um, I got so angry at her. I always had to defend him. But uh, when I became an adult, I guess more mature, and that isn't the same for everybody um, I just went along with what she said. You know, like I, I, I agreed with her. But I had to find out for myself.

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