Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Zwi Steiger - March 27, 1982

Religious Attitudes II

So if, if there really--nobody is--nobody gave a damn, you can say, grownups they were--they sinned. But there were infants that were not born yet. And the cruelty and the viciousness, the way, the way they were uh, there were uh, killed, there isn't such a thing I imaged that there is when I was a child. So I am less religious than I was, although my cultural background is a religious one, and I--as I said--I enjoy reading a nice prayer or a psalms. But uh, that organized religious and the people that I--that maybe, maybe they're right. Maybe they're right because it's an escape from reality, because reality is terrible, you know that there is really nobody that controls it. But here's a promise if you're righteous you will get into heaven and you will have it good and you'll--and if you're bad you'll have to give an account. As I say, those are good ideas and maybe you can, in a certain way you can control people's behavior, that no matter uh, what happens you'll have to give an account, huh, for your deeds. And maybe it is--the idea is good, but you know the reality is different. And this is why I have some, some--not even objection, but I don't feel like I, I want to go through religious uh, through life with a religion. Although, don't misunderstand me, I, I go to services once in awhile and I go through the motions and I enjoy reading it and I enjoy reading the Torah, but uh, there is nobody who controls it. It's all haphazard. And I say, I don't know if you, I'm sure your father told you how life in a small town was for a Jewish boy. There was always something to do. At the age of three--sometimes even two and a half--you started going to cheder. And in the morning you had to pray. You came home and you had, you had to say prayers before and after. And there was continuously something to do. And then the holidays were coming. They kept you busy. And maybe it is good, you know, there was no, no juvenile crime. And there was a certain authority--your father or the rabbi or, or God himself that you--see there was nothing uh, free. You couldn't do whatever you wanted. And there was a control on this part and in life and there's control after life. So in a way maybe this is the way to bring up uh, people. But there is no question there's a big disappointment.

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