Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Henry Konstam - October 25, 1991


When the two brothers came--from Łódź?

No, from Ozorkow.

Ozorkow. Did you talk to them about...

Oh yeah, yeah, I was trying to help 'em.

What did they tell you what was going on in Ozorkow?

They were not interested what's going on. They were trying to survive here. All they wanted is food. It is one thing that uh, nobody, a person under normal circumstances cannot imagine what being hungry actually means. Being hungry, you know, nothing in the world matters, nothing matters except something to eat. There is actually a pain--I, I've suffered it, I know it--there's a... When you go to sleep, and you're hungry, not that you can see, but actually there's a pain there that you cannot describe. If you steal something, you're probably justified because you're so hungry. There's a pain of being hungry that, that is un... it's indescribable what the pain is. See. And in normal circumstances, a person can't understand that. I mean, oh, I was... Here, "Oh, I'm starved--I gotta go." It is not the same. Being, having uh, uh, when you go hungry day after day after day, you, that's all you, you dream, all you think about is food, 'til you get something to eat. It's a, a situation that is uh... Sometime you see those starved kids in the, in these African countries, I understand, I, I understand how they f... how those, how these people feel, you know. It actually hurts. Terrible pain.

Let me ask you something. When people here now, your own family, when people say I'm starving or...

Yeah, it's not the same.

What goes through your head? Does that go through your head?

Oh, they don't know how well off they are. They, or just, maybe they're just, you know, half an hour late of their meal, you know. But the meal are waiting for you. It's different when you know your meal is waiting for you, then when you know you have no meal coming. It's entirely different.

It's a different word, isn't it.

I don't know uh, what, what expression can you have for it. Maybe just a, a pain, a hunger pain that is a different meaning than, than, than uh, than anything I've ever seen or ever heard.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn