Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Benjamin Fisk - November 8, 1982

Experiences with Germans After the War

Do you read many books on the Holocaust?

Well, I have quite a few of them. But I read--when the children were small I used to read the book what they use to call--I used to listen and read, you know, the stuff for the school, you know. When ??? was already older and he was going in college, he used--I used to--he used to read and I used to listen to him, you know. I love to read. Since I was a kid, you know, I love to read all the time.

Wife: I wish I could.

I was reading about the Russian Revolution when I was seven, eight, ten years old. ??? and all the books about Russia, I knew it all. If I knew--if I could remember one percent about the books I read I would be smart but I don't remember. As soon as I put the book away, forget it.

Wife: ???

I read--I can read a book in German. After the war, you know, it must have been ??? in the village. I must have read over four, five thousand books over there.

Wife: You know what I have? You know what I have? [interruption in interview]

...I tell you, I couldn't say three words in German and I could speak German just as good as any German. You know, I used to go into German--even the Bürgermeister--like the mayor, he swore before we left, you know, when we were living in Stoffen he says, "I still don't believe that you're a Jew," when we left over there. He said, "I thought--you, you leaving already," he says, "it doesn't make difference but I still don't believe you that you are Jewish." I said, "Yeah." We lived there for four, four-and-a-half years and then we went away...

Wife: The kids were afraid for us...

...you know. ???

Wife: Little girl came over and stopped us and then... [interruption in interview]

The whole village, you know, nobody--you couldn't see a person on the street, you know.

Wife: "The Jews are coming, the Jews are coming..."

They were afraid of us that they, you know, that we gonna take, take it out on them, you know.

But after you had lived there for a while?

Yeah, after we had lived with them a little while we were the best friends. We had to be, you know, we lived with them, you know, we eat with them, we drink with them, we dance with them, you know.

Wife: It didn't make a difference about us.

How did you feel about that?

Wife: Nice.

Did you resent them at all or did it...

What? You know...

Wife: I played with all the girls.

I played soccer ball with them in the village. You know, they were--I was even sending money from Oklahoma to the village to the soccer ball club, you know, they were writing a letter.

Did they ever talk to you about how they felt about the war?

Oh yeah, oh yeah we talk, we talk. You know, there were guys over there that were in Russia. And they were telling me...

Wife: Kids were in the street ???

...over there what's going on in Russia--how many of the hundreds of towns, you know, they were killing not only Jews but Russians, you know. This was a hangman, they owned ???

Wife: ???

He, he told me there wasn't a tree over there in Russia that the Germans didn't hang any Russians on it.

Wife: The kids...

They killed twenty million Russians.

Wife: They didn't pray to God--they pray, the little ones. This was ???

What did they feel about it after the war though, what did they tell you? I mean, did they...

What--nobody knew nothing about it.

Wife: ???

No, no. Nobody--see everybody--"This guy was saying he did it. This guy said he did it. I didn't do nothing." Nobody knew ???. To, to, to the day the war finished nobody knew nothing, see? Nobody knew. They had to know; they were in Germany, they couldn't get away from it, you know. You could smell the camps, you know, from miles away and they were seeing all the people were marching, you know, and they, you know, they had Ger...they had friends in Germany, too--Jewish people, you know. They were telling us there were Jews coming to the village in Stoffen where we lived over there, before the war, you know. They were dealing and wheeling, you know. I made a living--I didn't work over there, you know. I had a black market. I had to, you know. I figured sooner or later, you know, we leave Germany and we're going to go to, you know, wherever we go I'm going to have to go to work. I made my own furniture in the village, you know. I had my own shop over there and uh, whatever, you know, we needed, or whatever, you know, I made a high chair ???

Wife: A bed.


© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn