Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zwi Steiger - March 27, 1982


So the question is, how come we didn't resist in, in '38? I think it is--it's an impossible situation when, when you don't have any, any uh, weapons, when you're not trained to, to do, in military uh, affairs. When you are--when the gun isn't held to your head but to your parents' head, your siblings' head, your uh, wife, then it is a difficult thing to, to, to try to resist. And always ask uh, how about the American POWs that were in North Korea, that after uh, four days or five days of marching them everyday twenty or twenty-five miles and uh, not giving them food, they were betraying their, their officers. Or what did twenty million Russians do when they were uh, being slowly polished off by the--by Stalin in concentration camps. And they were not uh, ghetto Jews, they were Russian soldiers and army men and officers. And it is, and you have seen the same guys who came out from the ghettos and from concentration camp when they were in Israel in the War for Independence they were fighting as good as any other soldier. So it isn't uh, when you are home, and when you're not trained, when the, when the enemy is so overpowering that you cannot...


...put up resistance. No. And in addition, you don't know what's happened and what's going to--you don't know what, what his aims are. You know, you are being deceived continuously. It isn't that you are standing in front of your enemy. He's trying to, to give you a picture of his humaneness. That he--everything is according to the law and if you work nothing will happen to you.

Have you discussed your experiences during the war with your children at all?

With my children? I tell them usually some--occasionally some episodes. And they're aware. They, they know what happened. They know that their grandparents and parts of their family were, were uh, destroyed or uh, killed in the Second World War. I don't think I have anything uh, to hide uh, from them. It is difficult for them to think uh, especially for the little one. He comes up with questions, "How did it happen?" and, "How?" and, "Why did it happen?" It is difficult obviously to give an answer. But very rare and is--I never uh, try to withhold any, any facts.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn