MD: Earliest memories. Being called a ‘dirty Jew.’ Wearing a yellow star. Being called a ‘dog.’ Being thrown rocks at.
SR: What year was this?
MD: I would say 1940.
SR: You were born in what year?
MD: ’35. May 10, 1935. ’39, ’40, I would say. That’s the earliest memories that I have. The other things, the year when my brother Jean came home and started to yell at my mother which I knew, no children yelled at their parents in those days or raised their voice. And my brother Jean died, so did Albert. We were all separated at a time when Jean came home and yelled at my mother. I still know the story because I know now why he yelled at my mother. She believed in the propaganda from the radio when the Germans said if you register your family at the police station they wouldn’t pick you up. So my mother being a widow registered all the cousins and everybody, all the children at the police station and Jean found out about it and so we were all separated. And that was my earliest memory, the next one was living with different people. Kept moving around. Lived in a convent. Once sold by a nun, I know the mother superior came and woke me up and said I had to hide in the sewers of the convent because one of the nuns had called the Gestapo and found out I was Jewish and was selling me. Other memories, living on a farm, seeing people being picked up, I remember a man with no nails or no toenails. I found out later on that his nails were pulled out and he was tortured. Hunger. I don’t think I want to go into any more details than that. Orphanages, loneliness, feel nothing. I felt nothing, I became a void. Never any feeling at all. Fear was forgotten after a while because the bombs were falling, the shrapnels were falling.
SR: And where were you, you were going from place to place?
MD: Place to place, that’s right. Orphanages. Very sick.
SR: Always in Brussels?
MD: No, I was in Holland. I know because of the wheels, you know, the…[laughing] the [tulips], the flowers. I remember a place, now I know it’s called [inaudible] because of the flowers as well. This beautiful garden. I don’t know why I was there, but I was there. I remember different languages. Being in trucks, on motorcycles, walking. Earliest memory: a plane shooting down at us and people falling dead around us.
SR: You were by yourself, you didn’t…
MD: No, I was with my mother and Henri, and Esther and Jacques and I and we…My first toy, I can only remember a toy, was a little [dog] purse, it was a purse, I didn’t know it was a purse, and the other thing was a gas mask. That’s all I know of, that’s the only toy I’ve ever had in my whole life. And I lost it somewhere at the end of the war I think.
SR: But you kept it with you from orphanage to orphanage.
MD: And from home to home, I lived with Catholics, and different people. Never knew their names. Don’t think I was there long enough. Never…earliest memory, never being hugged. Only my mother. Last memory where I stopped crying was on my seventh birthday when I came home. The lady that was hiding me took me home and had arranged for me to see my mother. And as I was skipping down the road I saw my brother and Albert being shoved in truck and that was my seventh birthday. Today I know it wasn’t in May it was on July 2nd because I have the record of when my mother was picked up. The Germans kept a very good record and I have it now with me and I just got it a year ago.
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