Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Benjamin Fisk - November 8, 1982

War's Effect on Physical and Mental Health

Do you have any physical illnesses now as a result of your experiences in the camps?

Well, who knows? People get sick every day. You see American people, some of them are worse off than I am, you know, that didn't go to the concentration camp. Who knows, you know, everybody got something. I had the leg, you know, and who knows, you know. I have the arms now but, you know, carpenter work is heavy work and I work so many years already. I'm sixty and I start working when I was twelve years old. You know, conditions in Old Country not like over here. We didn't work for eight hours a day. We worked in a dark hole in the basement and the water was running down from the walls with no concrete floor, you know, and this didn't help any either. You get older and sooner or later it comes out, you know. You have to pay for it, you know.

Do you ever have nightmares about your experiences?

No, when I was working and I never had, I never had any time to have any, you know, as soon as I hit the pillow I used to be out. Now I can't sleep. I stay up every night 'til 3, 4 o'clock in the night because if I lay down with my arm...

Wife: ???

I don't, you know, when I was working hard, you know. I, I couldn't, you know, I would say, you know, when I was working I was going all out. When I came home I had it, you know. I was tired--half way on the pillow, you know, I would be out. I never--I don't know. I never dream about nothing. I never dream about nothing. She dreams, yeah, but I never, I never dream. Even now, I'm not working already for three years--once in a while I'll pick up little side jobs, somebody calls me to hang a door or little repairs or something you know it's not work, you know.

Do your past experiences ever come up to your mind today? I mean, during holidays or...

Oh, yeah, I never forget. Even, even when I was working, you know, most of the time we used to work up on the house--one guy on a house, you know, and I always think about it. You don't talk about it but you think about it, you know. You always see it and, you know, you live with it every day, you know. I read, you know, I read in the book and I think, you know, what I went through, you know, what other Jews went through, what I went through and who knows what my children are going to go through. You read in the paper like last weekend yesterday anti...anti-Semitism is going in this country, you know. It's getting to be really bad too. But now, you know, we can always pick up and go to Israel, you know, so at least we have a home to go to. ??? nobody would take us in.

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