How can the suffering and death of 6 million people be
illustrated and I appropriately described or expressed? What
can we learn from it? In the case of tyranny, the individual
has to stand up and fight. You become art of either the
suppressors or the suppressed. There is no third way. No one
nation can take all the blame, nor can another be the only
victim; all humanity shares in both the guilt and the
The impact on all of us who survived remains in our
experience. Whether we recognize it consciously or
unconsciously, it is like a shadow accompanying us to our
graves. I rarely think about it; however, I did gain insights.
To me, bread is a symbol, as it is for Catholics. For them it
is a symbol of the body of Jesus; for me it is a symbol of
life. It is such a joy to go to the grocery store and buy
food. (Remember the boy who wanted to eat a second order of
bean soup?) Nights are a different story. As a European-born
writer in Israel said, "We might win all the battles
against the Arabs during the day but lose against the Germans
every night." At night I died a hundred times.
I feel that all of us who were marked by the yellow star
were tattooed inside. We have a special obligation, not a
privilege, in being alive. As survivors, our moral and human
obligations are essential, and our standards have to be based
on human principles rather than on practicalities. We must
take a stand against suppression and injustice. It hurts me
more when injustice is done by Jews than by others. I do not
have any hatred. I did not become a judge, even though I was a
victim. Now I have a special obligation to show that my life
is more than survival. We who survived are not different from
others; we just played a special role in a special time.
One night in a dream I asked God, "Are we the chosen
"The world turns on its axis and each segment receives
an equal share of sunshine." That was the answer.