Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Pauline Kleinberg - October 28, 1982

Views on Religion

I think I can understand that you become so used to seeing it your mind just blocks it out.

Yeah, blocked out. Such miracles hap...I mean miraculously we are here--the ones you're talking to. I mean, there are little, there were little things our block were pumped so many times. You know, if I see I have a whole heart it's also a miracle. That's why I say, all those years, somebody ask me--take it or leave it--I was born in 1945 and no one can say any other way. I just can't, and I think it's--I do believe I'm, I--my background is Jewish. You know, Paula, there wasn't any other--every Jew was a very good Jew. There were--we were very Orthodox. The non-Orthodox we were also very religious. They observed everything. Kosher, Saturday, going davening, fast on Yom Kippur--who would know any other way--lighting the candles. That--that's unheard of someone shouldn't light the candles. And all those things, and the kosher dishes for Passover and the milchig and fleishig kosher dishes, you know that. Have you got an idea or you have a--you heard of it? Yeah. But there--you know, here, I, I don't keep a kitchen like this. Uh, I remember my psychiatrist asking me first--Dr. Dento have you heard? Yeah, he's well known. "How do you feel about religion?" I said, "Confused." And I'm still confused. I'm getting older. The older I get the more confused I am about religion. I said, "But one thing I do know, I'm proud I'm a Jew. I'm not--I was survived as a Jew, and I'm going to die as a Jew." You know what happened? At one time I was looking for jobs. When I was walking around, I filled out applications and all this. Whenever--and some applications didn't have nationality or religion, some had it. When--on the ones that I find having it, I knew, they have it--there must be a reason. I marked down great big capital "Jew." Not here but they probably won't hire me anyway, so if not they wouldn't have it here. I said, "If I survived Hitler as a Jew there's no reason for me hiding it." But what I said to Dr. Dento, if I had to be born again and I've had a choice, I wouldn't choose to be Jewish. I don't like the Jewish history. It's very rich, but I don't want to be so rich. I'm not rich in money, I don't care for it. I mean, I care to have enough. But I don't care to have such a rich history. It's not good. I'm--it's very stupid but that's how I feel. What good is it, I mean. He said, "Well, some things--it's another, another page to Jewish history." It's not a page. It's, it's a brand new, brand new history and it's a whole history. It's a rich history. Rich in tragedy, I mean.

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