Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Rotbaum Ribo - July 5, 2005

Religious Life After the War

Um, it sounds like you weren't terribly religious to begin with.

No, not overly religious. I joined a religious group in England, 'cause in the war I finished being religious, actually.

Yeah, so you might have had...

I joined the religious group in England, 'cause when we arrived in England, and we were in that eh, Southampton hostel, I could see the difference between the religious boys and the non-religious boys. The religious boys wanted eh, they want to learn and study, and the non-religious ones wanted to play football and to walk around and play around with girls, and then I decided that I want to stay with the religious boys.

But the believer--are you a...

I was eh, I accepted the religion--the Jewish religion. I was never a fanatic, and when I was in a religious--in the religious eh, eh, agricultural school, of course, I followed all the religious eh, eh, acts and then did the same as I was on a religious kibbutz.

But the question of where was God in the Holocaust? Does that...


The question of where was God during the Holocaust?

Maybe this happen eh, in fact, but eh, if He was, He wasn't. He wasn't. And eh, during the army years, slowly I stopped being religious.

So your family has been informed and you...you've obviously done a number of interviews, and have written...


What, what prompted you to, to start to talk?

Something a--in a push. I wanted--first of all, I wanted for my family to know--for my kids to know my background. And eh, I was--that made me started writing it down and speaking it.

I think you did pretty well with speaking it.

Eh, well, then I could talk. In the beginning it was eh, more difficult, to speak. So I wrote, I wrote down. And, eh...

Did you ever think nobody could understand this, why bother to tell them?

Yes, especially the--especially people that were not directly connected with the Holocaust. It was difficult to grasp what was happening. Yeah.

Difficult for survivors to grasp, never mind...

Yes, also, but especially for those who was not a survivor. Excuse me, can I make a interval for twenty minutes?

[interruption in interview]

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn