Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Henry Krystal - September 19, 1996


Um, at this point in your experience, did you think of this in terms of liberation?

Well, I was just thinking about that, that um, that although I recognized that, I recognized that at the time that this was liberation, that was the end of the persecutions, I, I couldn't muster the feeling of joy, of any celebration or joy or who to celebrate with, you know. Uh, maybe a day or two before I was liberated uh, a thought occurred to me and that is that if I should die, when I was thinking that I might, might die, that if I should die, that nobody in the world would know and nobody would miss me. And so the sense of liberation uh, did not evoke the joy because I, I, I was in that kind of a frame of mind. That I didn't know what I could look forward to if anybody might be, I had some hope that my father and my brother might have survived. But uh, I, I don't recall any celebration. Just a struggle for continuing survival.

You didn't see it in the others either.


No cheering.

No. I, I have heard that in some places the Russians would uh, come into a city, they would say to the prisoners, "You got a day or you got a couple, few hours to do whatever you want." But then they would do some revengeful things or looting or something like that. But I don't, I have not, other than a picture of a camp being liberated which probably was uh, produced by somebody, I don't, I don't recall seeing people cheering. You know, like hurray, you know. Like we see the SS men ran away, so we ran away too. Crazy! And in fact I, I, I have seen people who de...developed a crazy reaction to being liberated.

Did you have any hope that you would find your mother alive?


You knew. You told me once that there was a song you had heard about Treblinka.


But you heard it before the end of the war.

Yes, I, I heard it in Starachowice.

What was the song?

Treblinka dort, fur jedes Yid es gibt ein Ort, er kimmt dahin, verbleibt schon Dort, verbleibt fur ewig dort, ??? und die ist ein gutes Ort. Ein gutes Ort...that's the...

Good place...

...the, the cemetery.

Can you translate it?

Treblinka uh, there for, for, for every Jew, the, the end, the cemetery uh, whoever arrives there remains there, remains forever there. There um, they have sent our grandparents and our mother, mothers and fathers, there they were poisoned and there they were left forever. And this is their, this is their last resting place.

What, what do you remember being uppermost in your mind after that? Is there something that you wanted to do that you felt you had to do? Go back home?

Upon liberation?

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