Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Meeting a Former Jewish Policeman

Now another thing, I--when I came to Detroit I went to Central High night school. When I got to Central High night school, and here I see somebody beat somebody up. So you know you beat up--I was young, I'm talking about forty years ago almost. So I run out and see it--what happened--no--what I say, I'm not here forty years. I came '49. And I, I see it, he was a Jewish policeman. So he recognized me, I didn't recognize him. He recognized me. He says, "Berek, you remember I was a good policeman." I said--I say, "I don't remember you. I--how long you were a policeman--I don't care if you were good or bad," I said, "You were a policeman, you were no good." And then he found a guy what maybe hurt this guy or he, or he got--so he took revenge on him--he beat him up. Why? I, I didn't know it. I know he was a policeman in my camp. Or I don't know he was a good one or a bad one, I didn't, I didn't want to uh, like for instance I don't want false witness. I, I, I knew the guy that he was a, he was a policeman. Good or bad I don't know. So then he--this guy got leukemia and he was in the hospital. So he told his wife that I should go into his room and I should forgive him. So his wife knows me--she's not, not far from my hometown, about thirty miles. So she comes over to me, she says, "Berek, I got one favor. Do me a favor." I said, "What, what should I do to you?" "Come over to Sinai Hospital, my husband is dying from leukemia and he wants you to forgive him." I said, "I got nothing to--he don't have nothing to forgive me and I got nothing to forgive." I said, "I remember he was a..." "No, no, no, he not going to die before you come over there." So I walked in this room. He was laying in, he said, "Berek, ??? forgive me." I said, "I, I remember you as a policeman, but I don't know if you were good or bad, I don't." Then he died so she, she said, "You did a good thing, you came over." So he got punished this way.

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