Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Opas - [n.d.]

Dealing with New Appearance

Well, after a few months, yeah, I, I got, I got better. I got, I got cured. I was very, very out. Oh I--everybody thought the room where I was with eight guys, they, they thought every minute I, I, I'm dying because I couldn't even walk to the toilet by myself. They had to help me. The nurses had to help me. I remember I--an incident when I went into the first time, one of the nurses tried to, to please us. It was a German, German girl--German nurses. They were forced to, to serve as nurses in the hospital. She brought a little mirror in. And I didn't see myself in a mirror for, for so many years. And when I passed by--when I passed in the, in the corridor there--when I passed by in that hospital--in the, in the uh, in the toilet and I looked myself in the mirror, I almost fainted. I couldn't believe it. My hair was going--I said, "My God this is me?" I was so old that I, I couldn't believe it's me.

How old were you at that time?

I was at the time about thirty-three. And I said, "My gosh, that is me?" I couldn't believe it, I looked and I start to cry. So she, she reported to the doctor. He said, "Immediately remove all the mirrors. They, they shouldn't, they shouldn't see themselves like this." And she said to me, "Be glad that you have your head. Why, why are you crying over the hair?" I said, "I don't crying over the hair, I crying over, over how I look." I, I didn't recognize myself. I couldn't believe my--this is me.


Yeah, I had to have--and they had to help me because I couldn't even walk in--by myself into, to the, to the john.

So within two months you'd gained weight...

Even, after two months I start gaining weight.

About what, a hundred pounds now? From fifty pounds to what?

Oh, I think I got a hundred and twenty pounds.

In two months?

Yeah. Well, maybe, maybe not fifty, maybe I was weighing more than fifty. Eh, probably I was seventy maybe.


I don't know because, I didn't weigh myself but I know I, I was so weak I couldn't walk.


I was so thin everything, everything--like a skeleton--I really--like a living skeleton.

After this time of two months, were you able to walk by yourself?

Yeah, I could walk by myself.

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