Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Ehrmann - May 13, 1983


Are you uh, affected in similar ways with, with memories from the camp experience during the day? You say you went to services and sometimes you've wept at this period of distress, does that happen on other occasions too? When, when you hear a Kol Nidre services, for example, do you think that service in Mühldorf?

When I--practically every Kol Nidre, I think of my childhood Kol Nidres. Kol Nidre was a service that was very emotional to us at home.

Not the one at Mühldorf?

No, no, no. I never connect to that. I connect back to my childhood. But when I think, when I do think about that Kol Nidre service in Mühldorf, it's one of the very rare uh, emotional experiences that I had in concentration camp. I don't even know whether I uh, maybe I had a couple more uh, when I, I know that I was thinking I was grateful to my brother when I realized, that I, I made it already. I know I was emotional in my thoughts towards my brother. Uh, I have another experience when I met up with a rabbi in Mühldorf who was a contemporary of my grandfather and he had a stubel in my grandfather's town and my grandfather used to go to services to his stubel. And he told me that he knows the exact day of the Yahrzeit of my grandfather, that my grandfather never made it to Auschwitz, he died before ghetto on this and this date in which city he told me. So, I sort of related to him in entirety and that was another emotional experience. But uh, when I uh, think back, you know when I partake in Kol Nidre services now uh, it's interesting that you ask but I never connect really to that one. I go back to my childhood, to my past.

Do you frequently during the day remember things? Do things pop into your mind?

Yes, oh yeah uh, practically on a daily basis uh, I go back in my memory to the Holocaust, one experience or the other, one stage or the other. Uh, I still have nightmares. Whenever I get into a mental condition that I go through difficult period, I have nightmares. I use to have nightmares more often. Uh, I'm now on a more leveled out uh, psychological uh, state then I use to be but when I look back at it, I had some very difficult years. I don't know whether it's the gathering or it's just the age or the time that we're, that has elapsed, I sort of feel that I am finding myself. As a matter of fact, the gathering uh, when I was back with the fellow prisoners, with the fellow inmates, many times I felt I'm back in concentration camp. I observed the behavior of some uh, people, that they were behaving the same inhuman way, in, in a degraded uh, subhuman fashion. My reaction to that was, maybe twice I reacted to it, I got jittery but it was a generous sort of uh, charitable reaction to that, they can't help it. My own personal reaction to it was that, to, to the gathering, I sort of felt I have arrived. My liberation is completed. That was the first time I felt that really, that I am okay. I'm now somebody. I'm really out. Uh, in spite of my family, in spite of having a wife and children and certainly beautiful children and a beautiful wife, that was the first time I felt that I am out of concentration camp.

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