Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Weiss - October 7, 1994

Reflections on Religion and Tragedy

So...so you prayed?

We prayed an awful lot. You see in Jewish Talmud it says someplace that there is a second in every twenty-four hours, if you ask God, he has to fulfill that. So what our Yeshiva did, and I'm sure many Yeshivas, we were praying twenty-four hours in shifts. So we shouldn't miss that second because we don't know when the second is. We did prayed. And that happened many, many times. We fast--we fasted many, many days.

Let me ask you...a part from the day to day, you think it worked?

[pause] Well, that's a very good question. That's a very good question. I...myself, I say I ??? I believe I believe. I will never say that. But I as an individual, who believe in God and it says in the Talmud that we are the children of God. We Jewish people are children of God. And a child has the right to ask their ??? why. And I ask during the years, I keep asking that. And I do ask, with respect, with respect, "why?" Because again in the Talmud it says that whatever is happening in this world, it's with the knowledge of the ??? And I ask the question, [pause] "Why we have a, a man like Hitler? Why did he--why was he born? Why was he created? Why? How could he do? How could he accomplish what he did accomplish?" Because, he did accomplish, he did accomplish--he killed six million. You know, sometimes they say six million but when you start to count ten, twenty, thirty, a hundred, a million. That's a very, very big amount from a small people. A million and a half children. How could that be done? I uh, have a rabbi here in town whom I know forty-four years. Rabbi Goldman. Neil Goldman. And Saturday afternoons we go there and we learn. So it came up somehow, I don't know how. And I asked him, "Let's say for a minute, here in Oak Park, here in Oak Park, we have--we can do--we are the government. And let's say that is a child here. And we know that his grandfather or his father killed Jewish people. And we can do with this child what we want. We are talking about one child. Who of us would say I will kill that child? And we know that his father, his grandfather--our fathers, our grandfathers, they never did nothing to nobody. They were honest people. Now how could a man and let's say, let's, let's be clear about it: it was not Hitler himself. He had followers. Hitler couldn't have accomplished himself. His--he had willing helpers. Willing followers. But the question still come down. Everybody's a human being. How could those people, those people... could... live with themselves? How could they, how--it's, it's a child. A child was born yesterday. And again we can count them. A million and a half, million and a half. It's, it's, it's unbelievable. It's unbelievable.

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