Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Gun - August 27, 1993

Impact of the War

In terms of the impact it had on you, you never talked about that together?

No, not too much.

What do you think the impact was on you?

What was the impact well as we talked earlier I think the biggest impact was that I grew up too fast. And uh, didnt participate in any kind of a childhood. And made me more uh, serious than the average boy of uh, Ill say 18 or 17 as I was growing up. I was more aware of things and more cautious of things, maybe uh, [pause] um...

Are there things that um, trigger memories? I mean, if you see something or hear some name or--if, if youre on a trip and go by a forest, for example, does that...

Yes, definitely, definitely. When we were on a trip, in fact, when we went back uh, last year, I mean, thats uh...

That was the forest?

That was the forest and--but any kind of forest does bring back that. I was with my wife uh, two years, three years ago. We went to Scandinavia and we were in Russia. We were in Leningrad and Moscow and Kiev, which was included on a trip. And as we were going from the airport in Kiev, as you go from the airport into the city there is forests on both sides. So thats the first thing I told her. I says you see, this reminds me, this reminds me of the forests. So things like that or, naturally when you see a movie or some documentary on T.V., naturally that does. But I, you know, I think that my earlier years, I dont know, I think I just put in back of my mind and tried to like, I dont know, put it away or erase--try to erase it probably--which you cant do.

Did you have nightmares?

I had some nightmares, but not that many. Really I cant uh, tell you that I had many, but I had nightmares. Probably when I was younger even I have nightmares about, you know, sometimes about running, hiding uh...

Claustrophobic nightmares?

Oh, claustrophobic, Im terribly. And then, my wife didnt realize that up until re...--I never talked, told her actually. But uh, couple years ago I had uh, bad headaches, you know, I was going to the doctor and hes trying--thank God it was nothing but he wanted to give me an MRI. And when they showed me what I have to do for the MRI to get into the--I said no way Im not going into a tunnel. And uh, when I go into an elevator--but you see, my wife, I never told her that. She says how come all these years you never, all of a sudden. I says I never told you but if Im, you know, even in a small bathroom without windows, you know. If I go into a bathroom or on an airplane, a bathroom uh, any enclosure, that uh, I know, I mean, thats uh, only nat... understood that that must come from uh, being hidden. Im sure theres some people claustrophobic that didnt go through the Holocaust.


But, in my case, I mean, I have to attribute it to that.

And you told your children--te... tell me again about...

About the children? Uh, I never wanted--especially when they were young, when they were, my son more than my daughter. Uh, he w... hes more inquisitive and always wanted to know, and ask me dad tell me about how it was, how you went through. And I used to tell him, we used to go a lot of times on vacations with my brother and his family and I used to tell him, I says Sammy, I says, ask uncle Anszel. I says hell explain it to you better, I says he remembers better. And he used to tell him and from then on he used to kind uh, whenever he had a chance he used to dicker on him; you know, tell me uncle Anszel, now how was this and how did you do that and how were you. Uh, I, I uh, had more of a harder time to talk to him about it I guess, about it. Uh, guess I didnt wanna upset him or--I just had a harder time about it. Then up until a few years, I mean, I never talked at all. In fact, since I got into with the Hidden Children which is only a short period of time. Up until then uh,--and I think also, you know, as uh, was said by many that, I think we all felt that, that the people that went through the, the concentration camps, they were the ones that were the, the ones that were really suffering. The, hey what, we didnt go through anything. I mean, I was hiding there in Primas cellar or wherever in the forest ah, its no big deal, I mean, you know.

Without a childhood?

Without a childhood.

A qui... you had the--you could have expressed the 7 year olds perspective on, on what you went through, where as Anszel of course had a different perspective.

Correct, I mean naturally being 10 years older he remembers a lot more. And I dont know--like I told you before and I hate to repeat it all the time, but uh, I dont consider myself a genius, and I dont consi... consider myself being stupid, but I dont know why. I think a lot of children might of remembered a lot of things you know, uh, more than I do. Or maybe children of today remember thi... maybe because they had so much different childhood, remember things more than I, maybe I didnt wanna remember. Do you think that could be it?

Well, there, there may be things that are being re... youre repressing because you dont wanna bring them up again. I mean, you, you dont wanna have to deal with them again.

I dont know, I really dont remember a lot of things. Which ordinary child of 7 already should maybe remember. You agree?

Yeah uh, I...

I think maybe I just uh, marked it off.

Its, its gonna remain a mystery Im afraid.


What, you, you think its important to tell the story?

Yes, now I do. When I was younger I probably didnt give it any thought at all. But uh, as I got older I really think that its important. Otherwise because uh, were, were the last generation and if we dont tell it who will? And uh, by me uh, at least making this statement maybe my son will, will let his children hear it. And children, and after him and, and this is how uh, it wont be forgotten, and uh, and hoping that uh, this will uh, never occur again.

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