Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maximilian Kowler - April 26, 1984


You think it wouldn't be fair to young people in France?

Yeah. I think history should be told, the story should be told uh, his story should be taught, and uh, I don't think uh, it would be fair to let him sit there and die without bringing the whole thing into the open. Uh, I was one-hundred percent sure he'd come to a trial. As time goes on now, and what I hear from my friends in Lyon, I begin to wonder, I begin to wonder. It is so quiet about the whole thing, that I just wonder whether they're going to bring him out to trial or not, and I think it's just not right, it's not right. But then again, you know, I spoke to people here about it, and um, I was in--I can't remember. One of the ladies asked me how--I spoke at the Women's Club of Pittsfield, a hushed audience uh, and a lady asked me whether it's really worth it, after so many years, to man--bring the man to trial. I said, "How, how can you say that?" and uh, the best example I gave her--then I said um, "Do you think uh," I think the figure's 14,000 people uh, he killed, or was instrumental in the death of 14,000 people. "Do you think 14,000 people aren't important enough to bring him to a trial? We're not talking about a bicycle thief." I used that, you know, uh, bicycle thief. If he did that thirty, forty years ago, go ahead, forget it but 14,000 people. You can't just let it go by and uh, as time goes by, people have a tendency of uh, trying to forget, wanting to forget. "Oh, why would we--should we uh, stir up muddy waters," and unfortunately many French Jews feel that way too. They want to sit back and uh, "Let's forget it, let's forget it. Let's not have anti-Semitism, let's not uh, let's not grow more anti-Semitism than we already have." And it is absolutely amazing that I come back to France, all my friends are worried about anti-Semitism in France. It, it is, it is unbelievable. I think in the worst of my times in Austria, I never felt--I never heard so much about anti-Semitism as I hear now when I come to France. The people are so worried about it and I, I just--I, I can't understand it. I listen to them, I believe them, but I just can't understand it. It's, it's interesting all these uh, you know, the up-and-downs which they had in Paris, you know, with the Jewish restaurant and all that that the French people are so worried about--that the French Jews are so worried about anti-Semitism. It's absolutely unbelievable.

Well, I hope you'll keep on teaching and enlightening people in this area.

I hope so. I hope they listen to me. I will--I certainly will...

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