Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maximilian Kowler - April 26, 1984


Are there things that remind you about it on a sort of daily routine basis? Something...

Of my past? Q:...touch off, touch off a memory?

No, it's just uh, I don't think I had forgotten anything. I just forgot about the whole thing for a while, I guess, and then, like uh, you know, we have uh, many of my guests are psychiatrists, and they tell me that uh, "I guess you weren't ready for it," whatever that means. I don't know, maybe I wasn't ready for it, if that's what it is. I don't know. I don't know much about psychiatry or psychology, but uh, I just didn't talk about it. I just neglected the whole thing. It's just--not that I was worried about it, not that I tried to push it away from me, not that I, I avoided the subject. I just exist until one day--and I, I really think that I re-discovered that particular part of the past with the book, Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed. If I wouldn't have found that article on a mantel-piece at the Jewish Community Center in Pittsfield--I have the clipping--I cut out the clipping from that newspaper from Albany--that uh, the town of Chambon-sur-Lignon was giving an honorary degree in law by Haverford University uh, for Haver...not California, it's in Philadelphia, no? That, that the town was giving that award and because of that uh, because--the university became aware of it, because of the Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed. And I, I just didn't believe my eyes, and then I--it was just before the season. I didn't have time--I would have gone there for the award because Madame Trocmé was there. I really would have loved to go there, but I didn't have time any more, I had to prepare the season here, and then one day, I said, after the season, I have more time, I'll get the book, and all that. And then one day uh, a guest of mine came for second week of the season, and she's unpacked and then she sat on the porch--she's coming this weekend, incidentally, that same guest. It's funny, yeah? Uh, she uh, sat on the front porch there and opened the book. And I walked over and asked, "Judy, what you reading?" and she opens the book and says Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed. "Have you know--do you know about it?" And I said, "Do I know about it?" and she opens the book, and I see the picture, and I said "That's the house where I stayed," etc., you know? So, anyhow uh, I said, "Judy, when you're finished, let me read it. I'll send it back to you." And she said, "Why?" I told her why. Then she says, "Max, I'll finish it while I'm here," she was staying a week, "I'll finish while I'm here, and then I offer you the book--it's a present." And that is my book now--that's the book I'm using, you know? And I think that started the whole thing, that started the whole thing that I remembered that I had the desire to go back to Chambon-sur-Lignon, that I went out of my way to go back to Chambon-sur-Lignon, that I talked about it, and the Klaus Barbie thing I guess, too, was instrumental.

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