Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Emanuel Tanay - March 16, 1987


Are there things that remind you of some of the experiences you had or what you observed during the war on a regular basis?

Oh clearly, clearly, clearly yeah. That's you know, that's a daily occurrence of every survivor. Or, incidentally of almost every person who has suffered, that's not necessarily a survivor of the genocide but someone who is a victim of post traumatic stress disorder let's say Vietnam veteran. There are lots of reminders in daily living.

Like for example...

You know, sometimes almost anything. A smell of something can you remind you of some experience, a comment, an appearance of a person, you know. I walked into a lecture some time ago and there was a well-known psychoanalyst talking and I found myself uneasy, unable to listen to him. And he was a famous analyst and I specially went to listen and I was, then I discovered that what really made it so difficult for me is he had certain type of glasses, you know... rimmed, gold thin rims. They were the typical glasses that Gestapo men wore, the high-ranking Gestapo men wore in, but I wasn't aware of it. I only felt an unease when I was there. Now being a psychiatrist I sort of thought about it, but it was a reminder, you see? I mean there are reminders like this virtually all the time. [Break is taken.]

Are there reminders also on a regular basis of pre-war life?

Yes. But you see, these are not painful. They are not, sometimes they might evoke some feeling of sadness, but you know, pre-war life is different as a... it's sort of was almost insignificant. I almost sometimes have a feeling like, my life began in 1939. I mean, that is not entirely true, but in terms of intensity, it differs.

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