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Telling Herta's Story

Herta Pila, Holocaust survivor

You know what, I have two feelings about it, like when I go to the Holocaust Museum and I talk to the children. First of all, they really—even so, I always tell them, “You’ve got to figure that at the time these things happened to me, I was either your age or even younger than what you are.” But they can’t completely fathom that—there’s an old lady with grey hair, you know, she’s telling the story. Secondly, you have to do with a lot of classes which are dark, and their life isn’t the best either. And you can tell it on their faces and their eyes. “What is she telling me? We go to bed hungry so many nights”—you know, the whole bit.

So I myself have trouble with saying it, so I don’t know. But I also know it has to be told. But you know what, if we really go right down to it, it doesn’t help much, because go look at how the world is treating people. I don’t care. It doesn’t have to be Jews; they treat just about everybody terrible. So it isn’t any better than what it was after the war in Germany either, you know, if you really compare one thing to the other.

It just does to me that it—one way it has to be perpetuated to tell it, and that we hope that the next generations are a little bit more aware of what can happen. And you know what? It doesn’t say anywhere it can’t happen again. Especially now: now we’re in a time where things are not that great anymore, and actually the next generation is used to live in euphoria, best of times—“it was the best of times”—and now all of a sudden things are getting cut down. And, you know, people are still people. I don’t care what anybody says.