Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Rene Lichtman - August 13, 1998

Awareness of the Holocaust

Is this the...

...that's used.

...is this the, that's the first time that you had some sense of what the Holocaust was about?

Yeah. That was, that was when I sensed um, uh, the um, that it impacted our whole people. You know, but I still didn't know, of course, you know, World War II and the context and how many and I don't think, I don't think any of us, in those days, knew. We knew our own little piece um, of experience. And of course, as people, well, you know, it was only recently historically that, that stuff has been researched and all that.

But it must have raised, in an eight-year-old's mind, a lot of questions about that little piece of experience, wouldn't it?

Oh, yeah. It, it made me very clear that, that the Christian world hated my goddamn guts. And it was clear as pie that, that we were Christ killers. And even, even back then I knew that that had something to do with it.

Well, how did you think of the Lepage's, then?

Um, no, I knew there were, I knew there were good people and there were bad people.

But still, they're a part of the Christian world.

Yes, yes. But I, I knew that I was--that they had protected me and saved me and they were good people, but that I was, I knew because of who I was. And I knew, at one point I remember, I accepted the fact--I never thought that I'm going to convert. I don't want to be a damn Jew. I never thought of that. I was, as a matter of fact and I think it may have something to do with my father, that he, he had died um, um, I don't know what, fighting the fascists or, or something, but there was a certain pride that you couldn't just give up your Jewish identity. Do you know what I mean? I, I couldn't, I, you know, I knew that I was a Jew and--because that's what everyone told me. And I knew my mother was Jewish. And it was no fun being a Jew uh, and they were trying to kill ya. And, and yet, I, you know, I accepted that, that switch. And when I came to the United States, you know, I accepted it. And I cut off my ties, I remember very consciously to this day, to anything French, I mean, I--and, and0 anything Christian, you know, the, those early years, because...

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