Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Maroko - February 19 & 26, 1986

Psychological Effects

What else did you have to add?

Um, this is regarding 1942. This is more or less like an observation now, regarding then, in retrospect. Um, I had to develop the psychological anesthesia when hundreds, thousands of people around us were deported and I heard their names mentioned, and I had to protect myself against that. Uh, even now, at times, I have remnants of that uh, meaning that feelings of happiness even like the one when uh, ??? of sadness. I cannot permit myself at times to fully realize those feelings. It's almost like uh, that habit from then is still with me at times. Uh, sometimes I can. For uh, uh, I remember for example I was entering the ballroom after the chuppa of my son here. I was practically jumping, dancing uh, with my wife. We have it on, on the ???. I felt, I felt really uh, uh, the full extent of the joy. But there are other times that I, I know it's happening, but it's almost like it's outside of me, like I'm an observer. And I feel there may be either a similarity and possibly even a connection with what happened there. When I, I was taught don't realize the full extent of what's happening around you because it would psychologically uh, kill you.

It's a coping mechanism?

Definitely. It's a protective mechanism. I'm still keep it now with me. [pause] Did I--I told you about the story about where I hid in the uh, in the morgue?

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