Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Maroko - February 19 & 26, 1986

Thoughts on Religion

Can I stop you for a minute...


and ask you a question about something you said? You said, that was uh, when you still believed in God.


Does that mean you stopped believing it?

I--over a period of perhaps seven or more years gradually quit believing in God. It happened after, it happened let's say around age twenty when during the war, when those things happened. It was definitely not made any easier when I kept on praying and praying uh, as intense and as much as I could for the sake of my, safe return of my family. Uh, and uh, then later on uh, very gradually my religious beliefs were replaced by a more humanist, secular philosophy of life.

This in spite of the Orthodox upbringing you had.


That must have been a um, a time of mental turmoil of some sort.

Those seven years? It was a turmoil in many different ways. I was extremely depressed uh, after the war. Uh, I, I went uh, one year I stayed in Holland and then I uh, went illegally to Israel and worked for a few month in 1946 there and then I went into the kibbutz. But I--in the kibbutz the, the ultimate uh, point where I would not go to the prayers anymore, would not believe in God anymore occurred.

W...was there ever a point during uh, during or after the war when you stopped feeling that the badge was some sign of...

Of pride?


I've never stopped feeling that uh, David star is a uh, sign, symbol of pride.

So it's not a question of stop, of being, Jewishness...

No, I, I... As I mentioned uh, someone tried to convert me. No deal, I said. Um, being Jewish to me means to belong to that group of people that have so many things in common, history, tradition, a religion up to a certain point in my case. And uh, some people continue that belief, others uh, are Reform, Conservative, others are human secularist. I am uh, probably as liberal as any Jew can be and still consider himself a Jew. It, it's almost like uh, not exactly genetic because we know better than that. But it's uh, it's like an ethnic thing for me. I fought in the Independence War in Israel. I was uh, not religious at that time.

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