Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Sobel - September 8, 1998

Sympathy for Biafran Children

Do you measure things against those--that kind of suffering? This isn't as bad as it was for me.

Uh, no, not consciously. I don't measure it consciously. Uh, but somewhere there, it's there, when people complain about very insignificant things. I don't measure it inch by inch, but I say, "Why do they get so upset over such trivia?" Now, on the other hand, I understand. And on the other hand logically I understand how people's emotions work and I understand that it's in perspective to your own life and to your own values. So it isn't that I'm so naïve and so ignorant. But there are two levels. On one level I think, "Oh, big deal." You know.

I mean, when your children were growing and if they would, if they said they were hungry or something, would you say--you wouldn't say to them...


...you really don't know what hunger is?

No, no, I never talked to my children.

Did you think it?


Would you think it?


Never occurred to you.

No. Never occurred to me. And the only thing that I remember again thinking about Biafra and feeling so very bad of the hunger of the children. And with the chil...with my children's input at that time, because Danny and, and Avner, the two, we decided that the birthday presents, that instead of birthday presents that we are going to send the money to the children in Biafra. And uh, I am very compassionate of other people's hunger, for other people's deprivation. I don't compare it to mine. I don't think about it and never in relation to my children.

It seems to me you described yourself when you were a child and starving, physically as a Biafram child....


...swollen stomach.

So, uh...

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