Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lucy Glaser Merritt - July 8, 1991

Talking About Experience

Have you ever talked to anyone about your experiences?

No. In fact, until very recently I wouldn't talk about it at all.


It was painful. I didn't want to. I didn't want to be considered. How I felt when I went at Wayne, to Wayne and they knew I was a refugee, I was sort of like a freak you know, something like in a sideshow. So I didn't want to be regarded as something odd. And I, I was ashamed of my own part, really. Because when I blame my friends for not resisting, I in fact did not resist either. I did; took the easy way out and I left. They didn't even have that option. So I can't really point to them and say, why didn't you help, why didn't you fight? Because I didn't fight either. I was eighteen. I was the right age. I had no family. When you have a family I can see why you wouldn't, you couldn't risk them.

You mean blame your non-Jewish friends.

Yes. Yes, that if you can say to them that they didn't really resist, which many of them have said and which there is some argument for it, I have to say it for me too. And since I had such an unglorious part I didn't discuss it, because I couldn't forgive myself-maybe I have now-but I couldn't. That I went without a fight. You know, if my father said go, so I picked up and I left. And I was afraid. And I'm sure they were afraid too. Because the chances of getting into a camp were darn as good for somebody who was resisting than somebody who was Jewish. I mean, it was an instrument of terror, it was directed against everybody. It wasn't just the minority. So that's why I never spoke about it. Because I couldn't really point to one thing that I had done, which would have been classed as courageous or anything. I just got out.

Of course it saved your life.

It saved my life. And you see them, shutting their mouth saved theirs. It made it very uncomplicated. They looked the other way. Hardly any of them, except the one boy, who actively participated in attacking him, the others did not. None of them did that. But then he had a father who was a strange man.

Socialist, communist?


Socialist, communist?

No he was I'd say, sadist. He beat his own boy with a riding whip and that sort of thing. Even in a severe a culture as Austria, that was considered severe. And he and his son together attacked a hapless Jewish man, whoever that was and knocked him down. But the others did not do that. They did however, support the cause.

Were they in the war? Do you think some of them were?

Uh, yes. Practically all of them were in the war. They were all taken. And some of the refugees were in the war here. So they have, they were on the opposite side of, of the war. And we did mention that. The one fellow, who is now in Syracuse, his mother, was still in Vienna. He was a Mischling, a half, half and half. And he did not-he volunteered for the Pacific theater because he couldn't see himself attacking her.

His father was not Jewish.

Yeah. Yeah. But um, practically all of them served on both sides, on opposite sides. And they did. Oh, they sent me pictures when I was in New York and they were in Vienna and I could write. They did send me pictures in their uniform, so I knew. And that fellow who came to my house also served. But he was uh, an M.D. by then, so he served uh, you know, helping out in the field. And he said his main ambition was to become a, a captive [laughs] so he could get out of it. So he did not have the military spirit. But to out and out oppose something, that takes a lot more. There are these people who have done it and they're admirable. But most of us were not, including me. I was not either.

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