Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Reflections on Experience

Are there t...times during the day, or on any particular holiday, that some of this stuff comes back to you.

Oh yes, darling. Especially Yom Kippur night.

Yom Kippur.

And bentsching when everybody is bentsching. Should I, the problem, my children, I didn't finish there, because, "Why don't we have uncle? Mother, did you have any siblings?" I say, "Yes, darling. They killed them." They couldn't understand 'til now. They grow and they have their own kids. So my older boy says, oh my poor mother. He is the most compassionate sort of, that they all, I mean, they all, nice people. They said, "How was your heart? You never cried? You never told us?" I say, "What was the reason to tell. You were children." Like once, Boddie came, my older one, Bernard. He says, "They're my friends. They go to cousins and to uncles." I say, "I'm sorry, sweetie. If I could buy you a uncle, I would buy you." So we had Uncle Billy and we always gave him the best kovid, because and he liked the kids. He adores them. When they come, he always. All my kids come. To him, he lives by the water on the boat. He, say, "Why?" But now they don't ask so much, because they know, bit by bit and pieces by pieces. I want them to get involved in the Holocaust ??? I really. They say, mother, "I cannot do it." Excuse me, could you force them? No. They're good people. They raise marvelous children with Jewish tradition. That was my dream. It's uh, that's what I make the tape, for them. And never you should forget where you come from and be proud. Just be proud to be a Jew, because it's nice people. It's a beautiful uh, uh, what could I say? It's a beautiful breed of people. They smart. They as good as any nationality. I don't want to be prejudiced, even a little bit. We have Toireh. We have chochma. We have knowledge. We have sense of humor. Certain words cannot be translated, like from Sholem Aleichem. They say "Hock mir nisht kein cheinik." Can you translate that in Jewish? ??? "from the tail of a pig, you cannot make a streimel for a religious guy. I mean, it loses the--Chelm. Bill's wife, Esther, she is from Chelm and they ask her, "???" Because they say people from Chelm are not so bright. I don't know if you know about that, About Sholem Ale...it's a lot of things that some rabbi's get a hold of me, comes to an occasion. I start talking to them in Yiddish. They just don't want to leave me alone. They say, "???" And I didn't know 'til I came back to the Jews. I couldn't open my mouth to let out a Jewish word. Oh, it was German. No, not German, Polish, Po Polsku.

Does Sonja speak Yiddish?

My younger boy does. Sonja understands, but she doesn't speak. She took French, I think. My grandson tried to learn Jewish, but he's very fluent in French, because he just came from France the other day and he used to go to a school in Boston, Park School. I don't know if you know that school. It's a very--I mean, you know. And then Sonja speaks a little Spanish. Ricky speaks Polish and Spanish. Fluently Spanish. He learned, he took in school and he learned it from the workers. The younger boy of mine, ??? I think they seen that play, "Bobbemeises, Bobbemeises" in Boston. Bobbe's stories, Bobbes tell. You identify with it, you, you know, I mean you know what Bobbemeises means--to translate. Did I told you I met Fenkel, Garfinko, Nate, they very much involved. He wanted me to grab me and tell stories, I said, "I told enough stories to darling Sidney, so I'm drenched out." No, I'm okay now, darling, I'm okay. It's good because I've had my, I get it off my chest.


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