Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Eric Rosenow - August 5, 1982

Lasting Effects of the War

I'm going to ask you a couple of very personal questions and if you're not comfortable answering them...

Mm-hm, go ahead.

please don't. But it would be real helpful if you could. Um, I know from my background and the type of work that I do with interviewing people and helping them with emotional problems, I know that people, when they go through tremendous stress and change, get very, very depressed and they're suicidal uh, chronic depression that never lifts, things like that there. Would you be willing to talk about any of the changes that you and your family went through?

Never came in my mind. It never came in my mind because I never was really desperate. Really, I never was really this desperate that it entered in my mind because I always, could make money for surviving. If I didn't make music, I uh, I was staying on the street with a little uh, and sell something, anything. And the Chinese people walked by and like a flea market and bought it. I got even uh, merchandise in, in consignment, they give it to me until I sell it, otherwise, what I didn't sell, I could bring back. So this, what you asked me, never, never uh, entered in my mind, or my parent's or my brother's.

Did you see this happening to friends of yours?

Well suicidal I, I really can't tell. A lot of people got sick, very sick because uh, they uh, it had something to do with a woman--man and woman ??? they are sick. And when you, God forbid, got a sickness over there, couldn't get it out, because there was no penicillin. You know, the kind of sickness uh, you uh, can cure overnight like syphilis or gonorrhea or whatever you call it, you know, whatever you caught this, there was no hope.

So people...

Also there was a mental institution, you had people--you had a mental institution, but the mental institution was not run by Jewish people. It was a mental institution already there and I believe we had quite a few uh, mental cases in this institution. And I believe the only survivors what is even now in Shanghai, I heard, are those people who are mental patients, they couldn't leave.

Because uh, they were--the law forced them to stay there? We have the law here--I forgot the word now. There are some laws that force people to stay in mental institutions...


...is this what you're referring to?

Yes, yes.

So those people may still yet be over there?

They may still be there.

Hm, okay. So for the most part, this really didn't happen to you. You had a lot of strength and courage.

I personally, yes, yes.

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