Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Ehrmann - May 13, 1983


Did you cry during the experience? When you found out about your parents for example, did you cry then?

I cried once in Warsaw. There was a Sunday afternoon that we got off from work and we were just let wandering around, we were free to go to a barber's if we wanted to, to do whatever we wanted on this Sunday afternoon and I wandered away from my brother somehow, I don't remember exactly, but I know that I came, I sat down behind the wall of one of the barracks and I just couldn't stop with crying. There was another time when I cried in Mühldorf, which was similar circumstances except that it was right after an incident that Allied planes came over our camp, they came down and they shot at the inmates and one of my very close friends, a Yugoslav boy, was shot into his abdomen and he died before they could do even, within half an hour, and uh, then it was the next day or the weekend after that, I found myself in a, in a similar mental stage and I broke down and cried. After that, there was one time, when I lived in Montreal and I was in business and things were very difficult for me and I sort of--I was driving from one customer to another, I had to go through a part of town that was relatively long drive, about a half an hour's drive, delivering some goods, and I pulled over, I just put my head down on the steering wheel and I cried. I felt as if I'm back in prison, I'm back in a concentration camp, the economical condition, the condition in business, I, I was in a tight, I didn't know what was going to happen with my business and I broke down and cried. But even after that, for many years, I was not able to cry. It wasn't until, until really recently. Uh, first of all, six years ago I was hit with a viral infection and nerve damage in my legs and I was on vacation in St. Martin, I got into a tiny small hospital there. In that experience, I was frightened again and I was afraid that I was paralyzed and I was afraid that paralysis was going to, it was moving up, it stopped at my uh, hips and, but I was afraid it was going to go up and I didn't know what was happening to me. I started crying then. I made it home, my wife was with me, and I made it home to Sinai Hospital here and uh, after that I had, I broke down. I uh, broke down and cried for no reason, daily, several times a day. Since then I had periods, even during services, religious services, Sabbath services, there would come certain times when I would, I would cry. But, peculiarly I was never, never able to concentrate on the memorial services, on, on Kaddish, on Yahrzeit, observing Yahrzeit after my parents I know the date when they, when they were exterminated. Not until the communal Kaddish that we said in Washington at this last gathering when uh, after President Reagan talked, the whole, the whole uh, arena got up and we recited Kaddish. I broke down and cried, that was the first time I was able to connect to the loss of my parents.

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