Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Regina Cohen - April 18, 1982

Experiencing Pain

You didn't imagine it, believe me. I'm sure you--your great recollections are incredible.

I've put myself uh, I don't know if you know what I'm saying--have you ever become two people? And in a dream do you ever see yourself as two people? And I'm two people--I'm a grown up person looking at that girl who was a child at the time and I hurt so badly for her that uh, I'm like split--of two people. I've, I've lived--by the time I was fifteen I thought I was a hundred years old. I've--I still don't know who I am. I have uh, other than this tape or this conversation, I feel like um, when, when I die, it's like I never existed because my roots weren't here. They're scattered. They're, they're nowhere. And all the things I have lived through and seen and gone through--only my own eyes saw it and I can't show it as it was. I haven't got pictures, I haven't got anything to, to make a person uh, I don't know whether I'm looking for somebody to have been with me to make sure that I'm, I'm me. I don't know who I am at times, I, I really don't. I have--I look sometimes out the window and I think, "It couldn't be me." I know I mumble to myself sometimes in the language. My kids would say when, when they were little that if they go to wake me I would speak in such weird languages. And I would say, "Is it Hungarian? Is it Russian? Is it Czech?" And I would use kind of some words. And they would say "No," but they would say, "When you did you were so angry, you were so upset and sometimes you cry." So I don't know what languages. I--there were incidents where I wanted to be hypnotized to see what, what really is it that, that is hidden there 'cause I know there are some things I've come through and I'm not aware of it because subconsciously I hid it. Subconsciously they were so painful I didn't want to know about it. But I've forgotten places and things that, that really aren't important to me. They're not important to you per se. But to the world that don't know what kind of places there have been, what kind of things have been done. What I have said on the tape is uh, very uh, just a highlighted uh, a lot of the hurt, the pain. There were beatings, of course there were. Uh, you can't put it into words, so therefore, they're, they're just too hard to describe. So if I did good for you, I don't know.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn