Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Esther Praw - May 22, 1983

Lasting Mental Effects and Anger

But I think one thing, too, I mean, my personal opinion. What Hitler did to most of survivors, they will never recover. You hear that? Never. When I am happy, it's something that's like disturbing. It's like a wall. And the wall that I think must be only because I think oh, why I survive, why my, my mother not around, my sister not around, especially in my case, that I went away the night before. And this is always, never to be a day yet since I am free that I should say I am really happy. Like a lock, like a, like a wall comes between the happiness and just stops. But what we can do. I have to be happy for that what we got. And for what? Like I said to you, before I said to the German, I said for what? What did I do? I was a young girl this time. I don't know, I took chances with them anyway, I answered them. In the first place, they didn't have too many people, what they, for the work to do there, they need me there. And if I could go to the high authority to the German, he probably would tell him that he should go away, that he shouldn't even talk to me. They wanted production there. He comes and tells me he's a, he's a person, a mensch means a person. Not a Juden. I mean, a Jew is not a human being, is not a person, but they are. If the American people, not people like you are, but you are interested, you believe, you give away a lot of time, and God really bless you for it, but I know a lot of people, they don't even want to listen to it. And uh, the tape is on?


So I cannot say, because I would mention, you know, it wouldn't be nice to say that, I don't want to say who. Um, if we start to talk about the concentration camp with my ???, uh, she just, she change the subject. They say ah, what you talk about, so many years happened, why you have to talk. And this really hurts because they should listen, and they should get it in their heads, that a thing like that should never, never be forgotten alive, never. So many kids, little kids, they killed them, you know. And how. And what kind of death, and why? What a kid, what a kid did? What a little girl or little boy did? They, they lived 'til five or four years and they couldn't live anymore, because Hitler didn't want them to live anymore, why? I ask once a German, what did I do except working my whole life? I never had enough even food to eat at all, never like I mentioned before had a toy, what did I do, what, what you want from me? Because my mother had a, had me? I didn't even ask my mother that I should be born, and now I have to suffer for it? I did something in my life, you know. I don't know, politically, they took away people, like I know some Poles, one, he was a secretary in court, a very fine man. And they sent the ashes the next day to the wife. So they thought that he's politically involved in something or, big man, you know. They took some of big mens. But me? Lower than the average person, a little person. For what? It has to be for something. Take somebody, somebody. I see here on the television uh, two people kill somebody with a baseball bat or something and they let him go for $4,000, or they have to pay to let him go free. It's unbelievable. One kill another and they tell him, they have an excuse, he's nervous, he didn't know what he's doing. He need to go to a crazy hospital, and he goes out free. And me, without doing anything, a little girl, what I could do? And not only me, what I am talking about, little girls and boys, four, three, newborn, a month, two months, kill them? And now, people comes and yet they are going to tell you it didn't happen. It couldn't happen. So. This make really you know, turn the stomach, because I mentioned to my husband, the one German, in Starachowice, he had only one hand, but the other hand was a rubber hand. What he did with this one hand, if I would meet him anywhere, I could break every bone in his body, and I cannot hurt a bird, I cannot tell my doctors until I get sick over there. I'd rather be sick than a dog. That's the person I am. But those people, what they did, I would do it with pleasure, broke--break their own bones, I would take my own uh, I would take them all, in my hand, even if I had the rest of my life to live in prison. Because then I would have something what I did in my life, what they deserve. And this is one, I don't know his name, and ??? is number two, and the rest I don't remember the names because there were so many that you couldn't--but this ???, he was so famous. He came to the camp in um, hunting boots, because the blood shouldn't go probably on his pants. Because each time he came, each time he walked into this camp, a lot of people had to go. I wonder, or he got killed, or they didn't got him yet, or maybe nobody mentioned to anybody, probably people are mentioning that were in the same camp but uh, not all of them they can be, you know, it was so many, it's very hard to get him. They only look for the real famous ones if they get some. Like uh, the one, Eichmann or the other one, now they call the one, what he's still in um, in France, or, I don't know?

Klaus Barbie?

Yeah. Um, [pause] unbelievable, you know. Unbelievable. I told you the girl called me this morning, and said take a tranquilizer, and my husband thought I didn't, and now I feel fine, that I talk about it, you know. It feels better when you talk, but I feel sorry that I don't remember a lot of things what I could tell you. A lot. So many things really. It's, it's really what--I remember a few incidents more but I don't know if I should mention them considering, considering other people, you know.

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