Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Manya Auster Feldman - August 11, 1998

Reflecting on Experiences

You also told me earlier that you live with it. Are there, are there certain words, events, sights, moments that happen on almost a daily basis that sort of touch off a memory about the...

Yeah, that's sometimes the...

Like what, what, for example?

You know, you have to be in the, in the, in the um, circumstance of talking about it. It's just like when you sit and tell jokes. Somebody tells a joke, so you remember a joke. I sit with some people that lived through it, so we remember certain things. Like in the--like the scabies that we had or the lice that we had. We were itching from all over. I mean, it, it was a, a horrible feeling. And, and yet, we joked and we, and we sang and we, and we danced and uh, and life was normal, so to speak, normal. Some normality.

It's easier to talk to others who were there, do you think...

It's much easier. You don't understand what I'm talking about. No. Thank God that you don't understand.

I do, I do.

Yeah, well, you're a teacher. You do--so you, you are, you are in it.

No, I do thank God that I don't understand.

Yeah, you do. And I--and, and, even--you know what, my, my children, I started telling the story since they began to understand. And they know the story backwards and forwards, that uh, sometimes when we sit and we start reminiscing and all of a sudden they get anxious and they start telling the st...My younger son, Steven, is a psychiatrist, is a child psychiatrist in Boston. And um, he forgot about it, but many times he used to tell me, "Mom, I have to write a book about your story. I really have to." He's very um, intrigued with the fact that the time when I lost my memory. Because, you know, he's in the business of psychiatry. He went into psychiatry because he wants to study the human brain. He cannot--he, he wants to study how I, I--it's like, like was a blackout.

This is when you had typhus?

Yeah, after the typhoid. It was like a blackout for two weeks. I mean, I wasn't, I wasn't aware of what's going on around me. And then all of a sudden, I, I, I, I came out of it, without any warning, without anything. How do you explain a thing like that? So he has--but he, he's still, he's still thinking about it.

Before I forget, what's your other son's name?

My son here in the--right here in uh, Farmington Hills, is Barry Auster. He's a dermatologist, a wonderful guy.

Barry Auster?

Auster, because that was my name um, before. And my Steven's name is Steven Auster and the girls are Austers.

So you remarried, it sounds like.

I remarried. My son--my husband's name is Henry Feldman. He is from Romania.

Um, what are the granddaughter's names?


The granddaughters' names?

The granddaughters' names? One a Erica, she is twenty. She's going to be a, a junior in U of M. Elana is a senior in high school, she is seventeen. And Rachel is just starting high school. She is fourteen. And my uh, other one, uh, Julia, is ten. She's in Boston, very bright. All of them are very bright, bright kids. Well, I think I accomplished something, even though I say that I, I, I, I live with that guilt feel--I do. I live with the guilt that I, I survived and the rest of them didn't.

Should we stop here?



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