Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Stefa (Sarah) Sprecher Kupfer - July 24, 1987

Thoughts on Experience

What are your feelings about your own experience in that kind of loss?

I lost, not even talking about losing a father, everybody still have a father when I was an orphan, and he didn't die because he was sick. A loss of childhood. I didn't have a childhood, I didn't have a youth. At ten years, I was totally grown up. Not only I, but my friends too. We had such a void, such a--I don't know, it's a terrible loss. It's an emptiness. I don't know right now.

Have you, I know we had done an earlier interview, but have you talked to your children, your husband, your sister?

Well, when I met my husband, of course we talked. He was saved in Russia and he thought, oh when I come back I will have such stories to tell, but then when he heard my story and other stories like this, he didn't...and many times I would say to him, you know, if you don't believe it, if it sounds unbelievable, I don't blame you, I really don't blame you. Because many times it sounds unbelievable to me even though everything I told you is true. And there was a lot more that I didn't even tell you. Because it's not just a straight road, there are little avenues, little side streets that you can go into every minute of the day, it is almost impossible to tell it all, unless you kept going back and back. My children I didn't tell the whole story, maybe they know it from listening here and there with my friends, no matter what the occasion is, somehow we always wind up standing at the door for a half hour talking about the war experiences. Everybody had his own and something will always trigger this conversation and we commented on it already so many times, no matter what we do, we always have to say goodbye on this note. With my mother I did not talk much, it was very painful. She did not open up and we didn't ask questions. Recently, I spoke with my sister, I asked her if she ever talked to Momma because they lived together, and I was married, and she says, she asked Momma once about our father and she said, all she said, he was a very fine man, he was very good natured, had a beautiful voice, he loved to sing and he was an angesehen mensuh, and he was well known in the community, respected in the community. And he was a good, fine person.

How do you think your mother dealt with it?

I don't know. She never talked about it. The relationship that they had and the love that they had for each other, she probably couldn't face the loss, I don't know. And then at a young age, she had to be both father and mother to us, she was as very strict mother, but...maybe because of that. A lot of children were allowed to do a lot of things that we were not. We were always held back a little bit, and I always thought that that was the reason that she was mother and father, she had to be both.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn