Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Maroko - February 19 & 26, 1986

Post-War Employment

And the eighteen-year-old had gone back to West... He'd gone to Westerbork.

He, he did not return. And there's another thing. Uh, the first few weeks and so after the war I had no source of income. I was given a chance to make some money by selling lists of survivors. The Jewish newspaper uh, some of the people they had restarted it and one of the things that they were printing were lists of Jews had come back to Holland from the concentration camps. So it gave me a chance to uh, know first and if, the first thing of course was looking for a family name and then to sell others. And uh, I made probably not bad money because I guess I looked so depressed people must have had pity upon me. Because I remember at one time that it was going better than I expected, it was selling like hotcakes. [pause] At that time I noticed uh, on the subject of not being able to go back to medicine. I had noticed uh, psychologically, a difficulty of remembering nouns. I have no idea whether it was malnutrition or the psychological uh, stress and trauma. But I had difficulty remembering nouns and I would be inclined to enlarge it and say anything that had to do with anyway before war. In other words, it was so nice then and now it was so less nice. Therefore I was again, as a shield and protective mechanism, I was unable to remember. It was, it was psychologically too painful. And in the process probably I, I didn't remember names of simple objects. And I had to almost relearn it.

Not just names of people and places.

Just ??? objects. This was--it was another consideration why I felt that I know, if I go back to learning, I have a hard time remembering anything. How can I learn medicine? How can I study medicine? I also had a difficulty, which I had for quite awhile, I would say maybe several years after the war. Not at all times, but from time to time difficulty talking to other people. And this was um, it was a uh, almost like a chore. It was extremely difficult for me. The way I understood it was that I was so angry at the world--in quotes, for letting this to happen, that I was angry at anyone and therefore I did not feel like I had to talk to them or wanted to talk.

Did you ever express that to anyone?

Not at that time. In fact uh, with twenty-twenty hindsight I definitely could have benefited from uh, from psychotherapy. I didn't even know that there was such a thing possible. I'm now in a position to help lots of depressed people.

Do you think that has something that your state after the war might have something to do with your chosen profession?

I did not get that.

Do you think that this depression that you were in after the war might have had some influence on your choice of a profession?

Very well possible. Very well possible. Uh, like the commercial goes, doing what we do best. When I was in medical school one of the things that I must have done that I understand now with twenty-twenty understanding uh, was when I had to do a model uh, record uh, on a psychiatric patient. And this took, it was a process took several weeks, I cured them in process, I believe. So I knew I was doing very well in that. This is probably why I went back to that.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn