Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Emerich Grinbaum - October 3, 2000 & January 8, 2001

Religion After the Holocaust

Had you thought about it at all? Have you?

Of course. You know, it's interesting. You know I was--before the war and during the war I was the most religious in my family--most observant in my family. I was the only one who put tefillin everyday. My father didn't do it everyday, and, and, of course, and--they called me rebbele, as a matter of fact, rebbele, because they know I was very religious and, and I was very you know, I never eat without putting a cap, a hat on my--on something. We never ate Traife until the camp. In the camp they gave us, we don't know what did they give us--some horsemeat or something. But I was thinking you know, and uh, I still had a deep feeling that God exists, despite the fact. Although we didn't observe anything at that time. We ate uh, pork and everything.

After, after the war.

After, after the--we came back. There was no--not a question. I went to the synagogue uh, uh. At the beginning we went to Rosh Hashanah when it was open. And later on we--later on they closed the synagogue, especially we went to the university. That was absolutely dangerous to go to any...there were no synagogues but they, Jews gathered in certain places. So I, sometimes I was sneaking in uh, for uh, Yortzeit or, or Yortzeit. We didn't know when the martyr was, but we, sometimes we, and to Kaddish or, or Roshananah or for, for Yizkor service or something. But it was dangerous, you know.

This is under the Soviet regime.

Sure--'45, Soviet regime. That was, that was dangerous, especially when, when, during my university year, we did it very rarely. Because they might have kicked you out from, from the medical school. Later on I was more brave so I went reg...more regularly, but still working as a doctor they, they didn't like it. They didn't find out though.

So--but nobody said to you this was God's punishment for the Jews.


Nobody thought that.

No, I don't think so...

Some Orthodox Jews have said that.

I know! There's in Israel lately, there was... I don't think that that was such a punishment for. That just, we took our fate as, as it, as it is.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn