Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irene Sobel - September 8, 1998

Writing a Book

Is that the--do you think that's the long term effect on you or part of it, that there's this compassion for others?

Well, if you reach your age in your sixties and you are compassionate, you don't become discompassionate. Will, is this--I'm sure that everything that happened to me has an effect on who I am. I tell myself and I believe that it made me a better person. I don't walk around with bitterness. I have a joy of living. I get up in the morning and I feel wonderful, unless something happened at night and I didn't sleep. Uh, I have excitement and enthusiasm about life. Uh, I'm a optimist. I don't brood. I'm not a person who walks around with uh, one day I am a storm and the other day I am a sunshine. I'm very intense and I'm very emotional. But I would describe myself as a happy, content--happy is not the term--as a very content person with a zest for living. And I feel that what happened to me strengthened me. That I walk--until my daughter's death--I walked around with the feeling that nothing will crush me. I couldn't perceive the death of my children. As you see me, I continue living, I continue working, I continue enjoying life. But that grief is--it changed me forever and it's there with me. And, uh...

It'll never go away.

No, no. Uh, it doesn't get easier, you just learn how to live with it. It's just familiar. Yeah, and it is the toughest thing that can happen to lose a child. I hope that I'm successful in publishing this book. It means a awful lot to me. To tell my story with Naomi, to tell about Naomi and my life with Naomi.

Is that the title?

Well, the title that I gave is Naomi and I. Will it ever change? It started really--I had a lot of letters from Naomi that--my letters to her and vice versa. I have no idea why I kept them and I found in her apartment a lot of letters and reading those letters I thought it might help other daughters and other mothers. And then it grew out of that the need to tell about the relationship, the special relationship Naomi and I had. And to tell about Naomi, to keep her alive that way. And then I realized I couldn't talk about Naomi without talking about myself. I couldn't talk about our relationship without talking about the divorce and in the background home. Uh, you know, it's like peeling off an onion. First I was very protective of my privacy, of myself. Then I realized that I cannot be sincere. And I would peel off another layer, and peel off another layer until you kind of reach a point that you stay--that you are naked in the public and it's okay, in the eye of the public and it's okay.

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