Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alexander Karp - September 14, 1995

Reaction to Experience

Did you ever sit down with your father and tell him what had happened?

Yeah, in the earlier years. Certainly I, I had a lot to tell him because, uh, he wasn't home, he wasn't there since '42. I think it was May ten of 1942 when he was last time in Baktalórántháza.

And what was his reaction to what you told him?

Well, it's hard to describe. What can there be? Uh, it certainly took years and years, just in order to get, to get into the normal daily life. But, it could never be washed out from your mind, uh, because there is always a hidden picture. Even up today. I know to the last of his years or his days, he carried little pictures of my sister, my mother and each and every time he looked at that, I mean history just comes back and, and confronts him. Just like [pause] just like, this is a picture what I always carry. One from my sister, myself, my mother.

Hold it up so they can see it.

That's my sister. This is my mother. That's me and my father. This we got back from, actually from Montreal. One of my uncles sent it back because this was taken in 1929.

You were five?

Four years old. And she was about ten years old.

Are there other pictures that you carry in your mind from day to day? Do things touch off? Showers?

Many of the events whether it was during childhood or, or, um, my teenage times and so forth, you know, it takes me back towards that childhood. It wasn't that we lived in abundance, no. It didn't always mean that you had to have money, a lot of money, because nobody really did have an awful lot of money. But we had a quality of life. But it meant probably in retrospect more than if you had, uh, more physical, physical lessons. We were waiting for the Friday evenings to come. For the Saturday to come. For the holidays to come. Because it was, it was like a festive occasion, where in humble ways, families got together. Or waiting for coming the High Holy Days. And during those holy days, when you went to the synagogue, it was, we used to say it that even the air is holy. It was, whether it was a festive holiday, or a solemn holiday, each one of them had its own values. Each one of them had its quality and, uh, that closeness what it created. It's very difficult to duplicate. I mean, it's a good world as we know it today, what we live today. But, I really don't know which one was better. Where quality came first, ahead of everything else.

I think we should end there.

Let's end on that note that hopefully, never again, where anything even, even in a, in a small comparison happen to anyone, to any human being, to any nation or any race, or whoever.

Thank you.

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