Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Henry Krystal - September 19, 1996


Um, what, what do you make of this sort um, of new interest? It's almost chic now to uh, to do something with the Holocaust. Schindler's List, the Museum in Washington. How, how have you thought about those sort of unusual phenomena since 1980 or so?

Yes, I, I think that uh, especially the, the uh, some of the other programs are kind of geared to a happy ending. And uh, and the survivors are pleased by it in that they can say, "Well, not only did I survive, but I did well, I have a family, I have grandchildren. I have, I have, I have won." And I think that this is a, a, a kind of a balm to the heart of both the survivors and to their children. Because they can see it in, in their survivor relatives, that this is uplifting for them to be able to go through this process and say, "Here I am, I have won." Whereas many things uh, that, many things that survivors needed to experience they would not allow themselves to do so because they felt that this would be granting Hitler a posthumous victory. You know if they, if they had a nervous breakdown or if they had, needed help. Um, so I think that there is this uh, new trend that the ones that have survived to now are in two groups. Either they are depressed and they are not inclined to, to do that or they feel good about themselves and want to talk about it.

Let me ask you two, two things about this. Do you think it also soothes the general public, to think that there's a sort of happy ending to all this?


Um, you just said that the world didn't seem to care and abandoned...

Yeah, that's right.

...and the Jews, so now they can feel better about it?

The Jews, the Jewish public feels better about it.

But does the non-Jewish public also feel better about seeing Schindler's List for example? Here's a rescuer and there's sort of a happy ending.

But it is a, but it is a fiction movie.

Well, that is my other question.


This sense of victory. Is that the truth?

Well uh, not entirely, but in relative human terms, yes. Holocaust survivors have not only survived and had their families, but became good people and became uh, uh, give of themselves to good causes and uh, uh do everything possible of good things.

Is there anything else that you want to add to this?


That's a good place to stop I think. Thank you.

Thank you.

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