Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Opas - [n.d.]

Difficulty Sharing Experience with Relatives

What are your feelings about discussing your experiences? Do you ever discuss your experiences before this time?

Well, I discuss with, with people who, who live it through--who, who have the same experiences. We discuss it.

With other survivors.

With other survivors, yeah. With my American relatives I cannot discuss it, because when I came to this country, naturally the wounds were still, were still fresh and open. I tried to, to convey to them how it was. "Oh," they tell me, "Forget it. Don't talk about it. You, you better forget it." I say, "How can I forget it? This is impossible to forget. I cannot forget even, even in ten years from now I wouldn't forget it." They told me their parents passed away too. I said, "My parents were not, not passed away, my parents were killed. There's a difference." Naturally everybody has to die sometimes. There were, there were four sisters here--second cousins. Their parents were dead when I, when I came to this country. So when I told them that my parents got killed, they said, "Well, my parents--our parents died too." I said, "There's a big difference. It's a difference from dying to being killed. They--your parents died on, on natural causes. It's a different story. Nat...maybe, maybe they, they didn't die on old--for old age. Maybe they died, maybe pre...premature. But still they died on, on natural causes. But being killed in, in a concentration camp," I said, "and burned, and being burned in, in a gas, gas oven, it's a different story." "Don't talk about it because you will only, you will only start to cry again." Because naturally when I talk about it, I couldn't help it. I, I--my tears start running right away from the eyes. "Don't talk about it, don't talk about it." So I don't discuss with them anymore.


Because I felt, I felt that they, they have no--they don't have any sentiments or they, they didn't--they cannot understand this. So I don't talk with them anymore about it.

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