Transcript

The Last Survivors

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NARRATOR:

Most survivors of the Holocaust who are still alive today were just children when they were sent to concentration camps.

For decades, many were unable or unwilling to speak about their experiences. This film tells some of their stories.

MANFRED GOLDBERG:

Sitting in the car coming here, it began to dawn on me that this would be a first for me, and I wasn’t quite sure just what I had let myself in for. I did feel a little nervous, yes.

I’m here today to record some testimony of my experiences during the Holocaust.

Time is marching on, and it will not be long before there will be no firsthand survivors alive, and it is important to record this testimony as evidence for future generations.

JANINE WEBBER:

Why did I survive while my parents and my brother didn’t? And I feel I have to talk. I’m glad that now I can do it, but for 50 years, I couldn’t.

SUSAN POLLACK:

There are some people who are unable to speak about their experiences, and I can well understand. But it’s not possible to actually to—to reject the past.

FRANK BRIGHT:

I can’t really communicate with others properly, because they don’t know what I’m talking about. I mean, how many people have their parents murdered or seen a gas chamber in action? It has affected me, yes.

England, 2018

CYNTHIA BRIGHT, Frank’s wife:

Would you like a cup of coffee?

ARTHUR CARY:

That would be lovely.

CYNTHIA BRIGHT:

Frank, can you put the kettle on?

Oh, dear, this is marvelous.

FRANK BRIGHT:

We have divided our work, and my wife cooks; I shop. I wash up, and my wife does the garden. And I’m upstairs sending emails or getting ready for talks and things like that.

ARTHUR CARY:

Was there a point where you wanted to go over the details of what Frank had experienced? Did you talk about that together?

CYNTHIA BRIGHT:

No, it just came out gradually. We saw the film. At the end of the war, they showed a film of Belsen being liberated, didn’t they? And that came as a shock.

And that was bad enough. And I still think people—well, certainly this generation haven’t got a clue.

FRANK BRIGHT:

We start in May 1942. That’s when the class picture was probably taken.

That’s me.

ARTHUR CARY:

What do you call this picture of your old classmates?

FRANK BRIGHT:

I call it “Red for Dead,” which is pretty crude, but it’s to the point.

I took this photo. I put numbers against each child, and if you take number 1, that is Pick Hanus. He was born on 21st of January, 1929. He was sent on from the ghetto. He was sent to Auschwitz. He did not survive, and that of his transport of 2,038 people, 144 survived.

Number 9, Koretz, Edita , a very pretty girl. I think I had a crush on her, but from a distance. Was sent to Auschwitz, did not survive.

ARTHUR CARY:

It’s a tragic photo, really, isn’t it?

FRANK BRIGHT:

Yes, it is.

Not only did they die, but they obviously had no descendants. They never lived a life at all. They were murdered for no particular reason. But you’ve got to just wear blinkers. You just can’t afford to get too involved.

ARTHUR CARY:

Why not?

FRANK BRIGHT:

Well, because you wouldn’t do it; you couldn’t. You would—I would be sitting here crying my eyes out.

JANINE WEBBER:

I thought as a child that my mother was very beautiful. I always admired her.

Before the war, she decided to take me to see a film, to the cinema, and that was my first experience.

And I remember it was Shirley Temple. I remember her dancing, and I remember her curly hair. When I arrived in the cinema and it became dark, and I was a bit frightened by the darkness.

SUSAN POLLACK:

Before the outbreak of war, we used to get all kinds of gossip about the darkness out there, so we didn’t like going out.

When my mum occasionally, very rarely, left us, my brother and myself, we went under the table, because we were fearful of what might happen.

MAYA JACOBS-WALLFISCH, Anita’s daughter:

My mother and her father on their holidays. When you think what was about to happen, it’s kind of surreal. My mother gave this to me on Christmas Day, and at the time I was really disappointed because I thought, what sort of a Christmas present is this? She wrote us a letter, and this is the letter:

“Dear children, I have written and compiled this document with one thought in my mind; namely that I am dedicating it to you and to your children. We have never talked much about those dark days and how it came about that you do not have any grandparents. At what point does one start explaining to one’s child that there are people in the world who had as their ideology the total annihilation of Jews and other undesirables by murdering them in the most sophisticated manner?”

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

But this is not family conversation, that sort of thing, you know. Would you talk to your children about things like that? No, exactly. Exactly. And I mean, you know—

Who can make sense of it? There’s no sense in anything that happened.

I wanted to have a normal life, so the Holocaust doesn’t fit in there. I don’t want to be pitied or whatever. No, it’s different times now, and hopefully we don’t revert too much into disaster again.

MAYA JACOBS-WALLFISCH:

Are you feeling all right? Did you enjoy your lunch?

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

Yeah. Well, I’m not mad on the vegan business.

MAYA JACOBS-WALLFISCH:

Yeah, I thought it was delicious.

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

Yeah, it’s delicious.

ARTHUR CARY:

Now can I just talk to the two of you about what kind of role you feel Maya has going forward after you’re gone in terms of—

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

Maya has more of a role than the others because she’s very interested in the second-generation trauma.

ARTHUR CARY:

What do you feel that second-generation trauma is?

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

That you must not ask me; that you must ask her. I don’t know what the trauma is.

ARTHUR CARY:

Well, I guess you raised the second generation, so maybe you were witness to—?

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

No, I’m sorry. I will not elaborate on second-generation trauma. To me, anybody who’s got a roof over their head and enough food, forget the trauma, you know?

MAYA JACOBS-WALLFISCH:

But that’s a really important answer. A lot of my difficulties were to do with trauma. Why was I so disturbed? Why was I picking my face when I was 2?

ANITA LASKER-WASLLFISCH:

Yeah, well, I can answer that: because your mother was always absent.

MAYA JACOBS-WALLFISCH:

But the reason you were always absent was because of the Holocaust.

She will have kind of—well, she did sort of project into me this sort of feeling, an idea that, yes, there was something wrong with me; there was really something wrong with me, and well, you know, why couldn’t I be grateful that no one was trying to kill me, or at least I had parents, and so on and so forth. So there was absolutely—there was no connecting going on in terms of this was my history, and this was—nothing at all, absolutely nothing.

ARTHUR CARY:

Do you think being the child of a survivor can be problematic?

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

I’m sure. I’m sure.

ARTHUR CARY:

In what ways?

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

Well, I think—I’m sure I was a problem to them, because I can never see what people need absolutely for their happiness.

I have provided for them what I think is necessary for survival, you know.

MAURICE BLIK:

I’ll start you off with a little one, around the back, yeah.

Right. This one is—uh, it’s called Awakening.

ARTHUR CARY:

The face, very skeletal.

MAURICE BLIK:

Um, what am I going to say to that?

ARTHUR CARY:

Just an observation.

MAURICE BLIK:

Yeah. I—well, is it skeletal? I suppose it is, yeah. Shall we move on?

When I was 6 years old, I thought that I’m going to be a doctor and cure people. And it wasn’t till I faced the reality of that, that it occurred to me that, you know, if I went into medicine, then I would be dealing with dead people, corpses, and so I didn’t go that way.

I wanted to give life to things. Maybe this is a sort of rather curious way of recreating life in sculpture, trying to resurrect these corpses, as it were, which is a crazy idea.

I still don't know exactly what happened to my father. I know he was taken to Auschwitz. My fantasy is that, you know, maybe he was the sort of person that got killed trying to escape. I’ve got no idea. And so it’s always been a struggle, you know. How do you deal with that loss and my need to somehow bring my father back to life?

DEBRA BLIK, Maurice’s wife:

People that don't know will say: “Oh, yeah, no, Maurice’s sculptures, they’re—they’re him, aren’t they? They represent him.” But actually it’s not. It represents his father.

Have you seen the photograph of his father?

That is the head of all of Maurice’s sculptures.

Because Maurice does look terribly similar to that, um, they just think it’s him, but it’s—that is, you know, look at those cheekbones; look at that nose.

MAURICE BLIK:

I’m not one of these artists that are dying to get into the studio and make the next thing. It’s always been a struggle in a way to get around my initial feelings about making a sculpture.

I mean, I have to go back to when I was in the camp, and I had my little sister was born there, and she was coming up for her first birthday, and, um, I’m in Belsen, so you can imagine, there wasn’t somewhere where you could go and get presents and things, and food was very tight, you know, very hard to get hold of. And anyhow, it was coming up for her birthday, and I’d found a carrot which was a bit bent, and I made it into a little boat. I put little sticks for masts in it, and I was going to give this to her for her birthday. And you know, I was, what, 5 ½ or something, and I kept asking my mother, you know, “Is it her birthday now?” And it wasn’t. And “Soon?” “Not now, soon.”

So this built up to when her birthday was, when I could give her her present, and, uh, she didn’t get there. She didn’t make it to her birthday, you know. She died, and I couldn’t give her this present. And years later when I had therapy, the therapist said, “Well, this was your first sculpture, and in a way, that’s stayed with you ever since,” you know? And consequently, I’ve put down the fact that it was always a struggle for me. Although I wanted to make sculpture, you know, it was never a lovely experience. It was a struggle; it was a torment.

ARTHUR CARY:

Your sister, what was she called?

MAURICE BLIK:

Milly, you know, more or less after my grandmother. My grandmother’s name was Amalia, and she was called—my little sister’s called Milly.

In Belsen, when people died, I mean, I remember taking them out. I mean, it was bizarre, you know. Just in the morning, you know, you get up, and there would be a dead body there. So what do you do? When my little sister died, Clara, my older sister, tells me she took her out and put her on the heap, you know.

MANFRED GOLDBERG:

Children grow up on experiences. Some of the experiences which may have been horrifying to adults were just part of life.

But once we were incarcerated in the camps, I think we tended to grow up pretty fast.

Both I, who was in the men’s camp, and my mother, who was separate in the women’s camp, we were both selected to be moved at the same time to the same camps. So we spent the whole war together, and we were liberated together. My mother survived, as I did. My younger brother, who was four years younger, he almost certainly did not survive. I’m saying “almost” because to this day, we do not know his fate. He just disappeared. I as a 13-year-old had to go out and do sort of a day’s slave labor, but he was four years younger, and he was permitted to stay in the camp. One day we came home from work, and he and three other young kids who were allowed to stay in the camp had disappeared.

During the day they had been picked up by some SS members who had orders to pick them up, and since then he appears to have vanished from the face of the earth.

GPS:

Speed camera reported ahead.

ARTHUR CARY:

You always held onto a small hope that he might have survived?

MANFRED GOLDBERG:

Yes, yes. But it doesn’t look like it.

GPS:

Exit to the left onto junction—

MANFRED GOLDBERG:

There was a point in my development where I went through a quite severe crisis of faith. I was really torn between believing in a God and believed God to be just and righteous and at the same time reflecting on the horrors and the injustices which I and millions of others suffered. I could not reconcile it.

[Praying quietly at gravesite]

And I began to doubt the existence of a God. But I looked around me, and it became clear to me, crystal clear, that there had to be a God, an almighty creator, and I concluded the Almighty has given us finite minds which just cannot comprehend the events we went through, and therefore, it must have been the Almighty’s will that we do not understand, that we do believe in him purely through faith, not logic. And on that basis, I have remained a faithful and believing Jew.

ARTHUR CARY:

When you come here and stand over your parents’ graves and think of them, do you also think of your brother?

MANFRED GOLDBERG:

I do. One hears of miraculous reunions where members of the family find each other after 60 years or more by pure chance. And therefore, um, I have never recited any memorial prayer on his behalf, always making myself believe that maybe he’s still alive. But I certainly think of him when I stand there in front of my parents’ grave, yes.

ARTHUR CARY:

What was his name?

MANFRED GOLDBERG:

His name was Hermann, Hermann Goldberg.

LYDIA TISCHLER:

After the war, because I didn’t see my mother, I had this fantasy that perhaps she did survive by some miracle and that she was in one of those displaced people’s camps. Now, the fact that I never went to look for her, er, testifies to the fact that I knew she wasn’t alive, but I somehow needed to keep her alive in my mind, in my fantasy, so that I didn’t actually have to deal with this terrible trauma that she had been gassed.

I wrote a poem about it once when I was at a very low point in my life. It was very short. It said: “Mummy, who held your hand when you were dying? Who closed your eyes when you were dead?”

IVOR PERL:

I did meet my father in Auschwitz, surprisingly enough. But I feel so sad, but I remember walking with him, holding my hand and my brother’s hand, and he was talking to my brother. He hardly said anything to me. I felt as though I wish I could ask him or talk to him. But then I thought to myself, what must he have felt, holding my hand, 12 years old there, not being able to protect him?

ARTHUR CARY:

And those were the last moments you shared together?

IVOR PERL:

Yeah. Yes.

Right, we’re going to be going for a nice long walk. Now you behave yourself, all right?

I was in the satellite camp of Dachau in Germany in 1945, February. My birthday is in February, and I was bar mitzvahed, which means you’re 13 years old. And I remember going to the barbed wire, across the border in the forest—the camp was cut out from a forest—and seeing the birds fly by and thinking to myself, speaking to God, said, “Please, God, please, God, let me get out of this hellhole absolutely naked, and I’ll never ask another thing from you for my life.” And as you could see, God answered my prayer, but I’m afraid I still keep on talking to God and asking for further, further help. But of course that’s the problem with being a survivor: Everything tends to remind you of something. Seeing the trees right at the edge of the forest in the sunshine, it’s very, very clear to me.

Krakow, Poland

IVOR PERL:

It’s a lovely room, isn’t it?

JUDY BRATT, Ivor’s daughter:

Beautiful.

IVOR PERL:

Lovely views.

I’m usually—I’m making my usual jokes. The first time I came to Poland, I didn’t have this room.

JUDY BRATT:

No, I know. Well, we’re going to see today, aren’t we, your arrival at Auschwitz?

IVOR PERL:

Well, that’s supposed to have been the purpose of the holiday.

JUDY BRATT:

It’s not a holiday, is it, Dad?

IVOR PERL:

I mean, well, exactly. It’s a—you’re right. You’re so right.

ARTHUR CARY:

Can you remember the first time you heard about what had happened to Ivor as a little boy?

JUDY BRATT:

Uh, Mum told me when I was 10 years old. Um, I just remember going into a corner of the room and just sobbing my heart out. And from that moment on, I did not feel I was able to go to him when I was upset, because I didn’t want to, and it was also, Mum would often say as well, she would say, you know, “Don’t upset, Dad; you know, Dad’s been through enough.”

I do understand, and I’ve accepted that I won’t be able to release my demons because I can’t until he has. That’s what I’m hoping I’ll get from today.

LYDIA TISCHLER:

I certainly don’t feel the need to go back to Auschwitz. I was at the conference in Krakow, and I was staying in a hotel, and there was a notice in the hotel: “Sightseeing tours to the saltmines and to Auschwitz.” Now, that really offended me that it’s become a sightseeing event.

A lot of people have taken their children to see Auschwitz, I think perhaps maybe because it’s easier to show it to them than talk about it.

SUSAN POLLACK:

What was the trip like? About six to eight days, I suppose. Many of the babies and children died along the way. There was no water to drink.

I just huddled up to my mum. “It will be over soon.” Keep hoping.

ZIGI SHIPPER:

Every morning the train stopped, and they used to throw out dead bodies.

How can a child of 14 hope people should die so he’ll have more room where to sit down? What has become of me?

Eventually, one early morning, the train stopped. Through the slits of the truck, I saw the word “Auschwitz.” I don't know what it meant even, “Auschwitz.” Didn’t have a clue.

SUSAN POLLACK:

None of us Jews actually who had been transported could realize what was awaiting.

Evil rages. Evil rules. And this was totally alien to our minds, so we just hugged each other closely.

LIA BRATT, Ivor’s granddaughter:

Papa, is that—is this all how it was, or have they redone the wires?

IVOR PERL:

No, we didn’t—we didn’t, because the trains—you see, the train came in here.

LIA BRATT:

And all these electric wires? Is that how it was?

JUDY BRATT:

Yes. Yes, yes, yes, this is how it was.

SUSAN POLLACK:

I remember the arriving very clearly, when the doors opened up, and the terror and the aggression hit us immediately, and the shouting: “Get out! Los! Herein!”!” The Germans were waiting.

IVOR PERL:

I won’t go in when they show you the pictures.

JUDY BRATT:

Why?

IVOR PERL:

Well, I find it very, very hurtful, and I’ve seen it, you know?

JUDY BRATT:

Yeah, but I kind of feel that I need you to be there with us.

IVOR PERL:

Oh, I see. OK, right, yeah.

JUDY BRATT:

Do you mind?

IVOR PERL:

No.

SUSAN POLLACK:

There was a Hungarian-speaking victim warning us, quietly: “Don’t say you’re younger than 15 years old.” And I just nodded, not understanding why. That was what saved me from being sent to the gas chamber on arrival.

We had been so traumatized by then, I think I had lost the ability to express myself. We were dehumanized from the beginning of arrival in Auschwitz.

JUDY BRATT:

Oh, my God, the size of it, huh? Jesus Christ. Oh, my God.

LIA BRATT:

Is this actually real, though, from—?

IVOR PERL:

Yes.

LIA BRATT:

Oh.

IVOR PERL:

[Speaking to tour group] Well, you can imagine for four days being on a train like that, with 70, 80 people. We arrived in weather like this, absolutely stifling hot, and of course as the train stopped, German guards kept on going past: “Any sick people on board?”

I remember falling down on the floor, holding my head, and then suddenly I opened my eye, and I could see what happened. All these thousands of people, women and children one side, men the other side, kept on pointing left and right, left and right.

LYDIA TISCHLER:

If it was to the left, you were going to live. If it was to the right, you were going straight into the gas chambers straight from the train.

And I looked pretty kind of hefty and strong, and I remember him saying, “Stark wie ein horse—wie ein Pferd,” which meant “Strong as a horse,” and sent me to the left.

SUSAN POLLACK:

My mother, who was worn, fatigued, anguished, she looked much older than her age. She was in her 40s; she was selected.

There was no parting words. There was just a hug and “I love you.”

FRANK BRIGHT:

I didn’t see my mother, but she saw me, and she broke ranks; she came out, came to me, shook my hand and went back.

And then I went out, and I saw flames, and I was told what they meant. It was then I realized what happened. And I remember standing there looking at the flames and thinking, which of the flames is my mother?

IVOR PERL:

Suddenly I started crying, and a man put his arms on me; he said, “Why are you crying?” I said, “I want to see my mummy; I want to see my mummy.” And so he said, “Oh, don’t worry, don’t worry, you’ll see her tomorrow; you’ll see her tomorrow.” And I somehow—that—something took hold of me, and I said: “You know, Ivor, the game is over now. This is not a game anymore. This is happening really.”

Looking back now, I felt as though the way forward is this is what happened; now I’ve got to get up and dust myself down and carry on with life.

The odd occasions which I did speak to my children about, I remember them running under the stairs and in bed crying, and I felt as though I cannot see the point of it all. But looking back, on the other hand, running away from it also wasn’t the right way.

I’ll be on the left by the door in one of the chairs.

JUDY BRATT:

He can never move forward. He’s stuck. He is quite juvenile, my father, in lots of ways, and my brother always says because he emotionally cut off when he stepped off that train.

Could I just ask you, are you—this is the first time today you are being a bit—

IVOR PERL:

Impatient.

JUDY BRATT:

Right. Are you impatient because you’re going to miss the coach—

IVOR PERL:

No, no.

JUDY BRATT:

—or because it’s too painful to go in there?

IVOR PERL:

It’s too painful. It’s both. Yeah.

JUDY BRATT:

No, it’s not both.

IVOR PERL:

It’s—it’s, uh, enough is enough.

JUDY BRATT:

Right, yeah.

IVOR PERL:

Yeah.

JUDY BRATT:

I wish you could cry a bit, just, you know, to—

IVOR PERL:

What for?

What, like you?

JUDY BRATT:

Just, you know, you know, for your mum and your dad and your brothers and your sisters.

IVOR PERL:

You know, Judy, all I can tell you is that crying in my heart, it’s there every day.

JUDY BRATT:

I know it is. I know. I know it’s every day. I know, Dad, I know. But that is—like that—your impatience is a bit of a let-out.

IVOR PERL:

Yeah. You mean—what do you mean?

JUDY BRATT:

You’re finally, for the first time today, showing that it’s too painful.

IVOR PERL:

Yeah.

JUDY BRATT:

And I can’t imagine what it was like for you.

IVOR PERL:

Yeah.

JUDY BRATT:

You know, you were a child.

SUSAN POLLACK:

I haven’t been able to cry, because I think crying would have no end. But the memory’s there. The memory’s strong for my mother, for my father, for all my family, for the many children.

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

This is a private matter, you know. People always want to see emotions. Forget it. You know, we’re talking about facts here. I’m not giving people the pleasure to see my emotions because—no.

Berlin, Germany

MAYA JACOBS-WALLFISCH:

So everybody’s turned against Mrs. Merkel because of the refugee crisis, so—

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

Well, it brought out the last—the worst in people, that’s all. It brought out the worst in people.

MAYA JACOBS-WALLFISCH:

In Germans, you mean?

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

That’s why there is a Nazi party again here, because they never really disappeared.

MAYA JACOBS-WALLFISCH:

Yeah. And what is it like for you to be talking to people who are obviously in no way accountable?

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

It’s important, but unfortunately in a miniature, a miniature way.

MAYA JACOBS-WALLFISCH:

Miniature? What do you mean?

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

Well, because I mean, how many people can you affect? It’s like throwing a stone in the water and hoping.

MAYA JACOBS-WALLFISCH:

But that is in a way the only way anything changes. It has to start somewhere.

SPEAKER:

[Speaking German]

Federal President, Federal Chancellor, President of the Bundestag, ladies and gentlemen, Auschwitz has shattered everything; Auschwitz, a synonym for the systematic, industrialized genocide of the European Jews, for man’s inhumanity to man.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

For Neo-Nazis, this is a complete eyesore. People who hate Jews anyway find themselves with—saddled with something so unsightly.

[Speaking German]

Thank you for inviting me here to say a few words in the Bundestag. I am one of the rapidly dwindling number of eyewitnesses to the catastrophe which befell us all those years ago.

The only thing that I know, which has struck everybody, is that Mrs. Merkel, who is a wonderful lady, made this unbelievably generous gesture to open the frontiers and letting in thousands of people which the Germans can’t really deal with. And I think it brought out the worst in the Germans again.

[Speaking German]

It is now more than 70 years since the Holocaust, and the perpetrators’ generation is no longer alive. We cannot blame today’s young people if they refuse to identify with these crimes. But to deny that this is part of German history as well, that must not happen.

In the recent election, a party got in, Alternative for Germany. One could use the word “fascist.” We’re really talking about the thousands-of-years-old virus called anti-Semitism that was only waiting to come out somewhere.

ARTHUR CARY:

What do you worry could come of that?

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

I don’t know how to put it in words. I mean, hopefully not another Holocaust, you know. I mean, it’s not healthy.

[Speaking German]

Hate is poison, and ultimately those who hate poison themselves. We can only hope that you win this fight. The future lies in your hands.

I must say if anybody hated anybody, I hated the Germans, even to hear the German language. I really hated the Germans. I despised them; I hated them. I’m trying to build bridges, that’s all. And as long as I can do it, I’ll do it, and that’s all there is to it.

GABOR LACKO:

Wherever you are looking, it’s a very unsettled world we live in. Europe, America, the Middle East—everywhere, things are brewing. And it’s very sad. We could live in peace, and we don’t even attempt to.

MANFRED GOLDBERG:

My father came to the U.K. two weeks before the war broke out. Under duress, he had to leave without his family.

After we were liberated, he sent us a photograph of Hermann, my little brother. I contacted an artist to paint this painting of my brother from the small photograph and paid him in English cigarettes, and that’s how this came about. And I presented it to my mother on her first birthday after our liberation.

Last July I was contacted by an organization in our hometown with a view to placing some Stolpersteine [memorial stones designed to commemorate Jewish victims of the Holocaust] for our family, and although as a rule neither my wife nor my sons would attempt to influence me, they did say, “Let there be a memorial for your family, particularly for your brother.” This memorial plaque will actually be an acknowledgment that I consider my little brother to have been murdered.

ARTHUR CARY:

Are you worried about Manfred?

SHARY GOLDBERG, Manfred’s wife:

Yes, I’m very worried about him. He’s going to be meeting German people, and he’s going to be on German soil. This is the first time since he left in 1946. He swore he’d never go back. He said he’d never—he’d never been back to Germany. Maybe that will help him to sort of come to terms, maybe.

MANFRED GOLDBERG:

I was standing by the desk, and a message came up: “Wir wünschen Ihnen einen schönen Aufenthalt in Kassel.” “We wish you a very pleasant stay in Kassel.” I thought back to when we lived here. They didn’t wish us a very pleasant stay in Kassel then, did they?

It must have been around 1937. My father had taken a day off, and it was while we were walking home that we came across an enormous crowd of people. People were telling us that Hitler is going to drive by.

My father stopped, and we waited patiently. I remember my father lifting me onto his arms so that I could actually look over the heads of the people in front, and I actually caught a glimpse of a limousine going by, with Hitler standing there waving and I think doing his “Heil Hitler” salute.

ARTHUR CARY:

Did you and your father salute back?

MANFRED GOLDBERG:

My father may well have done in order not to stand out.

Seventy-two years since I was in Kassel.

Here you are, Müllergasse. Look. Yeah, this was our street.

[Woman playing guitar and singing in German]

MANFRED GOLDBERG:

[Speaking German]

Dear ladies and gentlemen, a few months ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed that I would stand here in my birthplace and take part in a memorial ceremony for our family, in particular one which acknowledges the murder of my brother, my dear brother. I am the only person in the world who knew him and loved him. Therefore it is most appropriate that this small memorial, which will outlive me, is placed here at the very spot where he experienced a few years of life, full of his parents’ love, before he had to live through hell on earth, and sadly his young life was cut short. But in all these many years, i never felt able to recite a prayer in his name.

[Chanting the Hebrew remembrance prayer “Prayer of Mercy”]

Al molay rachamim, shochayn bam’romim, ham-tzay m’nucha n’chona al kanfay Hash’china, b’ma-a los k’doshim ut-horim k’zohar haraki-a mazhirim, Hermann Goldberg, Sohn von Rosa und Baruch Goldberg.

It certainly touched me, remarkably. It has now been publicly and officially, incontrovertibly, indisputably confirmed.

MAURICE BLIK:

I could have been a miserable, depressing character that, ooh, you know, “I’ve had an awful start in life, woe is me,” but I’ve taken the opposite view in a sense and said, you know, “You tried to wipe me out, but it didn’t happen, so here I am, and take note.”

My son made an observation, and he said, “You know, your father would have wanted you to enjoy your life and be happy.” And I think he was right in making that observation.

The struggle I’ve had, um, is partly to do with—well, I’m sure you’re familiar with the sort of guilt of surviving that many, not just survivors of the Holocaust but many people who have survived awful tragedies of one thing or another that they feel guilty about having survived. And I suppose what my son was saying: “Don’t feel bad.” And uh, yeah, I think he’s right. I think, you know, don’t feel bad about surviving.

GABOR LACKO:

When I came to England, I got used to that some people referred to foreigners as a bloody foreigner, and that doesn’t bother me at all. You can call me a bloody Hungarian; I just smile. If you call me a bloody Jew, I kick your teeth out. That’s how it affected me.

LYDIA TISCHLER:

It’s not a question of whether you carry it, but whether it interferes with your developing any further.

It’s almost as if perhaps they will stop remembering their family, and it’s as if it’s a betrayal of the people who they’ve lost.

SUSAN POLLACK:

I’ve lost so many members of my family. I suppose to go forward, I needed to, um, to look ahead.

I could be irresponsible now. I try not to be, but I read a poem, and it says, “The dog is dead, the car is sold, go and live foolishly,” and I thought to myself, you’ve got it right. [Laughs.]

I’ve always had to kind of look after myself. I was a grownup from the beginning.

ANITA LASKER-WALLFISCH:

You want to hear? Here it is. And I encourage youngsters to ask, because we are the last ones. When we’ve gone, finished. Then it’s all, uh, history books.

Anything else?

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