Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Malka Sternberg - January 31, 2008

Thoughts on Father

It was uh, an epidemic after the First World War.

Yes, yes. He got it in the First World War.

First time that, that had...

Yes, yes.

...disease had occurred.

Yes, yes. They didn't--even then here they didn't know until--there was--I remember there was a show here on television every week with somebody sing about it. He was also a very good interviewer. He made a show every time he picked somebody from the, from the viewers and uh, from the audience and he knew who it was and made sure you were sitting there and then he started talking about what he did in his life which was so special and started calling story the people who were connected that we didn't ever see for twenty years or thirty years. Whenever that happened they found them all and brought them up. This one was called the, the, the sea--the, the, the ship Eliat was bombed by the Egyptians and the people were drowned and this man and others tried to save some of the crew. He saved seventy people himself, this man. And they were going talking on that, them just saying in a nutshell because the whole thing was two hours. Said on, you know, that considering that you saved seventy people you came out without scratch. So he said, "I didn't come out without a scratch." "But you are, you're not wounded--hospital, nothing." He said, "I didn't come out without a scratch. I had shellshock and I want to ask my family to forgive me. I could never love my children, I could never love my wife the way I wanted. I appreciated her but I couldn't love her and I want to for...till now I want to now declare that she'll forgive me." And that's what I heard seven years after my father passed away. I knew he had shellshock but we didn't know what--my brother was a doctor, didn't know what it was--what shellshock meant--that this was connected to shellshock. By the time I found out my brother wasn't alive anymore.

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