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When Julie and I married, she was a social worker with the Department of Public Welfare. Later she worked as probation officer for the Domestic Relations Court. We were able to live quite comfortably on her salary, supplemented by my earnings from the laboratory job. Upon my graduation from CCNY in spring of 1951, Sintercast, my employer the previous three years, offered me a permanent position as a metallurgical engineer. Having no formal training in metallurgy, I felt inadequately prepared. Metallurgy seemed an art, whereas electronics, a more exact science, held more appeal for me. I had trained long and hard to be an electrical engineer, and I wanted to be one. When Raytheon Company offered me a position in Massachusetts, I accepted, and Julie and I moved to the relative wilds of the Boston area. After I emerged from nazi hell, I was inclined to distance myself from my wartime experiences and concentrate on rebuilding my life. I tried to avoid recalling the painful events of the recent past. Except for occasionally reminiscing with fellow survivors, I rarely spoke about the war years, and then only in general terms. In my effort to forget the horrors I was abetted by New York Jewish society, which for its own reasons was not eager to hear about the nazi atrocities and murders. Through Leo I met a number of people who were active in the Jewish community. It was not uncommon for someone to express an interest in my experiences, saying “sometime you must tell me all about them.” But the conversations never took place. An exception was the philosopher and prominent American Zionist Horace Kallen, who queried me searchingly about life in the ghettos and camps. I told him about the persecutions and described my experiences at some length, although without going into the painful details. He did not press me. He seemed to sense my hesitation and refrained from asking intrusive questions. For me, the pain and anguish associated with the camp experiences were still too raw. # Building a Life  164 THE WAR AND POSTWAR YEARS It is said that some survivors feel guilty over being the only ones in their families to have lived through the Holocaust. I have not found that to be the case among my fellow survivors. Occasionally, I have been asked whether I share this sense of guilt. My survival was a happenstance, an improbable chance occurrence, but I did not survive at the expense of anyone else, and I do not feel any guilt about it. Julie has reminded me that soon after our marriage I spent an entire night giving her a lengthy account of my life during the war years. Julie was an attentive and sensitive listener, and it encouraged me to relate to my new bride the important events of my life. I believe it established a trust and a closer relationship between us. I associated Judaism with rigid Orthodoxy, and although I identified strongly with being Jewish, it was in a secular and cultural rather than a religious sense. Before the war I had resented Agudat Israel’s anti-Zionist policies and its efforts to enforce orthodox religious observance. In the camps the more observant sometimes used religious scruples to shirk unpleasant assignments, which they then tried to foist onto the nonobservant fellows. A particularly difficult situation occurred when we were forced to bury the people killed during the evacuation of the Large Ghetto. Several men in our group claimed to be kohanim, descended from the priestly class and by Jewish law prohibited from touching a corpse. Under normal circumstances we would have observed their religious principles. But this was not a normal time, and we felt our orthodox coworkers used the prohibition as a pretext to avoid disagreeable and strenuous tasks. Although antireligious, I was intensely interested in the progress made toward achieving a Jewish state. I avidly followed the latest developments. After the Holocaust an independent Jewish state in Palestine was the only viable solution for the survivors of Eastern European Jewry. The establishment of Israel in 1948 was the emotional high point of Jewish life in the early postwar years. Having survived the worst catastrophe to befall the Jewish people since the destruction of the Second Temple, it was a unique privilege for me to witness the rebirth of a Jewish state, a sovereign Israel, after 2,000 years of exile. After our sons were born, I wanted to pass on to them my sense of...


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