Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Rene Lichtman - August 13, 1998

Life on Farm

What do you remember about the life on the farm?

Um, well, it, it was, you know, it's interesting, it was, I, I mean, in retrospect, I was really in hiding. Um, I didn't go out. Uh, the, the one thing that I--I had no playmates except these, these kids who came in and I don't remember much about them, because they didn't stay too long. I stayed there long and I, I knew I was the favorite. That was the other thing. I, I was very--I felt very uh, loved and cared for. I remember the, the Christmas holidays um, things like that, you know, uh. I remember being with them in the garden a lot, outside. But it was kind of fenced in. And again, remember, it was in, in the corner of that, that town. Um, but I don't remember going to the grocery store with her or anything like that. I do remember wh...when the Germans came that one time. And that was kind of uh, interesting, because I don't think we had too many visitors. Um, and I, I remember kind of being in the back room or something and they came for, for water. And I don't remember being fearful or anything. I don't remember that. But I just remember that being kind of strange, that we had some strangers. Um, I also remember when the Americans came, you know and took over the same foxholes. And they came over to uh, to actually get, she washed the feet of one of the soldiers one time, because he was having some problems. But um, uh, the extent--one of the things that I did was um, I drew pictures. Um, and um, if you think--if you want someone to be um, quiet and, and not rambunctious, et cetera um, and they, they like drawing pictures, that's an ideal situation. So I was really encouraged to draw pictures. And my guardian saved those pictures. Um, and when I went back to see her in '70, I think it was '74 the last I went back to see her, by that time she was living in the South of France um, she had those drawings, some of them. And it--they were interesting, because they were always, they were very political. It was, you know, the FFE, the Free French Forces of the Interior, which was, which was DeGaulle's, people uh, you know, fighting the Nazis. And um, but um, I think that helped, that helped me a lot, the drawing piece, you know.

Do you think that's where you were first inspired to begin to...


...think about being an artist?

Yeah. The, what happened is, it led to, I mean, it's the only thing I, that I did, that I knew how to do uh, when, when the war ended and I went back to my mother uh, in Paris. And I realized I was Jewish. That was, you know, very, very traumatic, suddenly, in terms of an identity shift and um...

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