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Tove Roberts

image of Tove Roberts
Nationality: Danish
Location: Copenhagen • Denmark • Grenå
Experience During Holocaust: Family Resisted the Nazi Party

Mapping Tove's Life

Click on the location markers to learn more about Tove. Use the timeline below the map or the left and right keys on your keyboard to explore chronologically. In some cases the dates below were estimated based on the oral histories.

“You do what needs to be done, you do what your spirit tells you to do, but you do not talk about it because you do not know whether the person you are talking to may inform on you and jeopardize either you yourself or somebody else.” - Tove Roberts

Read Tove's Oral History Transcripts

Read the transcripts by clicking the red plus signs below.

Tape 1 - Side 1

RASKIN: This is an interview of Tove Roberts who will be telling us about her experiences as an
observer of the German occupation of Denmark in the early forties. I think it was 1943 that the Germans
invaded Denmark.
ROBERTS: No, on April 9th of 1940, that’s the time when the Germans came into Denmark and it was a
complete surprise to all of us.
RASKIN: How old were you at the time?
ROBERTS: Um, I was about 18, 19 and at the time I was, uh, working in a household, uh, preparing myself having to get a year’s housekeeping experience before going into, um, a nursing school. And I happened on that very day to be cleaning my bathroom windows upstairs and I was hanging out the window when I saw this plane, uh, airplane, uh, literally within about 50 yards of the upstairs window and I realized that it was a plane that I had never seen before. And I finished my job and then I went down and in the meantime somebody had turned on the radio and we learned at that time, about mid-day, about the occupation by the German forces. And, um, I spent probably about another year and a half on the peninsula of Jutland and, um, in the same small city where a small garrison of German solders were. The city was called Greno, spelled G R E NO. At the end of that time, I was accepted into the nursing school at one of the large municipal hospitals in Copenhagen and I spent the remaining part of the wartime years there, working as a student nurse.
RASKIN: Let’s go back a little bit, and, uh, in 1940 when you were 18 and this first happened, uh, the day before, let’s say, what was your experience of the place of Jews in Danish society?
ROBERTS: Um, I was not terribly aware of the fact that there were Jews; in fact, um, we had several Jewish families in school where I grew up, and, uh, I was never aware that they were any different from what I am. We were all going to a public school, we all turned up for our schooling and we all went home to our small farming communities. I was one of, maybe, I think there were about 25 of us in the class and we all came from various small or larger farms in the area during our elementary school years. And thinking back, I know that, probably about half a dozen of the children in my class were of Jewish descent. And I was never aware that they were any different from anybody else; they came to school like we did, they came to our birthday parties, we were invited to their homes for birthday parties. And, um, we knew that they would go to a different place of church then we did, but, uh, so did a lot of other people. The Methodists went somewhere, the Baptist went somewhere else and as far as I’m concerned they just belonged to a different church in my childhood.
RASKIN: Anti-semitism was never really a feature of Danish society was it?
ROBERTS: It never was. Um, (pause) I guess this is a little bit of jumping, but, uh, as I look back to that time, it seems to me that the fact that they were assimilated into the sort of daily living of everybody must have been the sort of guiding factor in everybody getting together, doing our best to give them shelter until we were able to get them out of the country and over to Sweden. When the day…
RASKIN: What happened, I mean what were some of the restrictions that you then saw?
ROBERTS: Um, of course everybody were put on very strict rations, because one of the reasons the Germans wanted Denmark amongst other countries in Europe was the fact that we were a very, very highly productive agriculture country and, uh, we, as I look back, I say we were the larder which they picked their daily food, and, um, cause one of the things that happened was that the Germans went to the authorities and wanted a list of how many Jewish people were in Denmark and were told by the King, King Christian the Tenth, who was on the throne at that time, that “we have no Jewish people in Denmark, we are all Danes”. And, uh, he remained in Copenhagen right throughout the war and with tremendous strength took all of us to see him come out every day on his horse go out amongst everybody. And, uh…
RASKIN: Now you were living at this time in…
ROBERTS: At this time, I was in Copenhagen
RASKIN: Uh, huh…
ROBERTS: …and now, I mean, really, to my memory, most of my, most of the wartime, I was in Copenhagen having moved and then accepted into the nursing school…and
RASKIN: …and then in 1940, after you first saw the planes, how did the German occupation…did the German occupation then follow immediately on that?
ROBERTS: It was happening at that time. Um, I remember my father saying, “I have been invited to go to a parade of the soldiers coming through town, and I said,”well, I suppose that means you’re going to put on your top hat” and he said “you better believe I am not going to put on any top hat, I’ll wear my oldest cap and I’ll wear my raincoat, but I will go because, obviously, we have to”, and, uh…
RASKIN: Did your father hold an office in the community, or, uh…
ROBERTS: He was a member of the County Council at that time, and, of course, they all had to go out and they all did, probably, most of them reluctantly, but, uh, you know when I think back on it, it seems to me that we were being encouraged by our elders to, uh, um, try to be non-aggressive, don’t try to be too nice but don’t try to be nasty either. And, um, it’s an unfortunate situation we will have to live through it, and, um, maybe we can find a way to make it a little unpleasant for them later, but let’s just wait and see because as a single person, we can do nothing, but if we can find a way to group together or band together, maybe we can find a way to make this more bearable.
ROBERTS: And, of course, this is what happened, you know, the underground movement was literally a banding together, first with the students and a lot of the ministers of the Lutheran Church were involved in creating underground papers that were then brought out to the population so that we would be informed about what was what.
RASKIN: Saying…
ROBERTS: Saying, um, that we should not necessarily believe all the newspapers, um, our papers were censored, our radios were censored and we were told what the Germans wanted us to know and the only way we knew better was that some people were fortunate enough to have small radios that they were able to get what was called the Danish Voice from the BBC, and then they would see to it that it was duplicated and, uh
RASKIN Those were Danish language broadcasts?
ROBERTS: …Danish language broadcasts, and, um, they were listened to in secrecy and then they were hiddened away in basements or attics and usually moved from time to time so nobody would circle in on knowing where they were and also…
RASKIN: Tell me more about what the Lutheran ministers, the papers they put out would then be newsletters or more?
ROBERTS: Literally, newsletters, um, and they would be very infrequent and, but you would usually pick them up not from the minister, but you would usually pick them up in church.
RASKIN: Now, in terms specifically, of interactions between Christian Danes and the Jews, did the Church play a role in advising people or did everyone do what came naturally to them?
ROBERTS: I think, um, if there was any interaction, I’m not aware of any other than one, sort of specific act that was carried out by the Bishop of Copenhagen, who, um, I think was 1943, um, the Germans finally made the move to round up the Jewish population of Denmark and there’s a specific holiday in early September,
RASKIN: um, Rosh Hashanah,
ROBERTS: and um, Bishop Fulsang Damgard, who was the Bishop of Copenhagen at that time, sent a message to the rabbi at the church, “make sure that your people will not come to the, um, festivities, or to whatever was… going around…
RASKIN: Uh, huh,
ROBERTS: right, on this particular day. It is absolutely imperative that you do, and the message went out and literally, over night, they all disappeared. And, of course, the way they disappeared was because they moved into our attics, our basements, our chicken lots, our church halls, church towers, etc., and by moving, removing their selves from their homes, they had also lost the official contact with officialdom, they disappeared, so they got no more ration cards, this was a cost, a big thing in those days, so the rest of the population shared whatever we had with them and we knew they were in the area and we would take whatever we could spare in the way of ration cards to either the school or the church or various, it would set a path by word of mouth that so and so will take care of a number of people, but you did not talk about it because you did not know who was going to be around. It was literally a very sort of hush, hush affair…your mother would send one of the children take this down to Mrs. So and So because she has got company coming or they’re having a gathering and we need to help them with some extra sugar and butter or whatever. And, um, you know as I think back, that is the thing that sort of was the moving factor for many of us. You do what needs to be done, you do what your spirit tells you to do but you do not talk about it because you do not know whether the person you are talking to may inform on you and jeopardize either you yourself or somebody else. It’s a strange way of living but it’s a reality and, um, you don’t even think about it. You know it becomes second nature to you while you’re in it. Um, (pause)
RASKIN: It seems as though your impressions at least are that everyone acted more or less spontaneously. I mean no word went out to the Danes “take in the Jews”.
ROBERTS: No, no, nobody was invited to take anybody in, nobody was encouraged…
RASKIN: It just happened that everyone was so…
ROBERTS: I think, you know, community by community, I think there might have been a lot of talk back and forth. Look, so and so are going to have to be away from their homes for some time, uh, and obviously they’re going to have to be aided out of the country, but in the meantime what can we do and, uh, I have learned later of families who were literally, um, given the advice to go to certain peoples friends or relations in a different part of the country and were given a home there until such day when they could be transferred out of the country.
RASKIN: …really remarkable. Did you witness any overt acts against Jews, any destruction of property or, um, violence against persons?
ROBERTS: I did not. I, uh, know, of course, of it happening, but, I did not witness it. I, uh, (pause)
I don’t really believe that there was a great deal of destruction going on in Denmark. Um, of course, there was a number of sabotage and you never knew exactly what was the target, you know, it may have been factories, it may have been, um, because the factories were owned by Jewish people, uh, but I don’t think so, most of the sabotage that I remember happening was because it would make it impossible for the Germans to get what they wanted to get out of that factory. Any sabotage against the railways, bridges or anything of that nature was literally designed to make it impossible to transfer stuff to…just make it a little bit more difficult for them. And, um, I do not recall having seen or heard of during my time in Copenhagen, but of course living in a bigger city, you hear less of what’s happening and it was not a time when you were told a lot about what was happening in other parts of the country. Um, I’m not able to be very helpful on that…
RASKIN: On the whole, what the Danes accomplished was very successful and admirable.
ROBERTS: Yes. It’s, of course, you know during the last part of the war, I had at that time practically finished my nurses training and I was working with a, um, oh, not working with, I was aware of a group of assistants, fighters in Copenhagen, and when, at one point, we were asked would we help to find a way to feed people that were being walked back from the camps in Germany, um, so through the efforts of the ___________ ____________, a Swedish Count., we found ways to work it out that we would be taken out during the night from the hospital kitchen with, um, food, we literally went in a laundry truck out of the hospital with great big buckets of oatmeal, um, and milk, sugar, etc., and we would be taken to the free harbor and feed the people that were on the trains.
RASKIN: What people these now?
ROBERTS: These were in the last year of the war, the Swedish Count, Folke Bernadotte, who was later killed on a mission in Africa you may recall, worked at some deal via the Red Cross with some of the camps that people would be taken out of the camps in exchange for some Germans that were elsewhere. And they would come…
RASKIN: Now the people who were taken out of the camps were not necessarily Danes?
ROBERTS: They were not necessarily Danes. They were, a lot of them were Jewish people.. A lot of them may have been Danes. We did really not know who they were. All we saw were the long, long trains and the vast number of people in them, people who were very, very skinny and very, very hungry and who were very, um, I think, shy about the sudden friendliness, and when you handed warm food in the middle of the night.
RASKIN: You don’t know what camps these came from?
ROBERTS: I have, we were never told and we asked no questions.
RASKIN: And they were, they were….
ROBERTS: They were, uh, elderly people for the most part and, uh, very, very, emaciated, really.
RASKIN: And where were they going?
ROBERTS: They were being trans…um…Copenhagen, of course, is very close, you could travel overland, very close to Germany, and they were coming out of the Eastern German camps and they were being brought up through the island of Falster and across Seeland and then brought to this free harbor which is an area of the Copenhagen harbor where you can keep goods that’s coming into the country without having to pay a customs and you can do a certain amount of trading, you know, and reshipping, and so on. And because it’s, uh, um, it’s a fenced-in area, this, I assume, the reason why the trains were brought there and given a chance to stop so we were able to give these people a meal before they were taken out on trains again going north on Seeland and then transferred between Elsinore and, um, Sweden.
RASKIN: To a safe harbor, I suppose.
ROBERTS: To a safe harbor in Sweden.
RASKIN: Oh, okay, so that was the destination.
ROBERTS: And the destination was Sweden and we knew they were going and that it was a transit operation and that they were being fed..
RASKIN: Was this a one-time operation?
ROBERTS: No, um, there was a train about once a week for about five or six weeks.
RASKIN: And each train had several cars full of people?
ROBERTS: On the two occasions when I went, I counted, uh, on one occasion 38 and on the other 47.
ROBERTS: Railway cars.
RASKIN: And each full of…
ROBERTS: And each one of them, I mean, this is my calculation
RASKIN: Right, right.
ROBERTS: Being in a railway yard today, I know there must have been about 100 people at minimum to each car and it was a large operation and, uh, it’s only after the war that I learned that, um,. this particular man had worked out this agreement in some ways with the Red Cross and the German authorities that there would be some kind of an exchange.
RASKIN: Of course, it was your impression, at the time, that these were all old people. Do you think now that….
ROBERTS: Not necessarily old, but they gave the impression of being old.
RASKIN: Because they were emaciated.
ROBERTS: But, then, you know, as I began to think about it, um , you know the Danish police force was being rounded up at the time of the September holiday because they wanted the Danish police off the streets so there would be as little as possible in the way of , uh…
RASKIN: Interference.
ROBERTS: Interference with this big round-up. And, uh, the Danish police was transferred to camps in Germany and were encamped there, and as they began to come back the next year, I saw the young men who, most of them would have been probably six foot two and four and probably weighing in the neighborhood somewhere between 160 to 180 pounds, and some of them looked as they might be Mahatma Gandhi, as you recall him, and…
RASKIN: So, you are saying the Danish police were sent to…
ROBERTS: To camps in Germany.
RASKIN: … concentration camps.
ROBERTS: Right, they were…uh, September, in fact, on my birthday, uh, September 19th of 1943, was when they were rounded up. And I recall vividly seeing, uh, one ton trucks with police in the back car and wondering what on earth was going on, where were they taking all this police, and it was only later that we learned that is where the police were….
RASKIN: And when did they come back?
ROBERTS: Um, they, um, some of them were sent back, um, you know, in their ill health. Um, I think during the winter of ’44, ’45…
RASKIN: Before the camps actually closed, they released them…
ROBERTS: Some of them; not all of them, but some of them, and of course, also, a lot of them just got word of what was happening and never went into the camps because they went underground as so many others had done..
RASKIN: Um, uh.
ROBERTS: And, uh, they were the backbone in a lot of the assistance groups because they were very well aware of what was happening in the country. They were aware of the communications lines that the rest of us do not necessarily know about, and, um, I think a lot of them , after they went underground paid a very (dog barking) I’m saying that, you know, although at the first time when I saw these people coming back, I assumed they were elderly people. Having seen some of our young policemen come back and actually having them in the hospital having suffered, a lot of them were suffering from Hepatitis which they had contracted in camps, and seeing how skinny and how very, very old they got very quickly had put me in a position where I have no idea whether I saw young or old people as we fed them on the trains.
RASKIN I understand, but, tell me some more of what you saw in the hospital. You were a registered nurse?
ROBERTS: I was not yet a registered nurse, but I was well on my way, and, um, we did not have to take in a great deal of the, um, we never had to take in the Germans, but we did get in as accident cases the people that had tried to flee from them and I will, for as long as I live, remember what happened to a man that’s running down the street when somebody sends a shot after him because you shoot and the bullet will hit the knee, it never fails, and we had, literally, rooms, I mean wards full of young men with bad knees and, uh, you just don’t get a gunshot wound that way you get a splintered bone; it’s a horrible wound, because these were the days before penicillin, and, um, they are very vivid memories particularly, you know, because you can remember the smell of these things.
RASKIN: Yes…who were these people who were being shot?
ROBERT: Well, they were people who either were involved in the sabotage and were or happened to be in the area and were fleeing because they didn’t want to get involved. But anybody that’s caught running in the streets when something is happening is suspect.
RASKIN: Right.
ROBERTS: So somebody was sent a bullet at. We very seldom had, I think on one or two occasions, I recall the Germans would pick somebody up from the hospital and carry them out, literally, but, because we were never told why, so I couldn’t tell anybody why.
RASKIN: Did you stay in hiding all this time or the Jews that were in your experience, were they able to resume a normal existence or did they just live…
ROBERTS: Well, they lived hidden existences and, um…
RASKIN: What did that mean in terms of schooling for children?
ROBERTS: Um (pause) I don’t know.
RASKIN: Uh, ha. What was the part of your experience?
ROBERTS: I, uh, recall a number of patients that we gave housing in the hospital, uh, sometime just for a few hours while transportation was being arranged for them, and they had, um, I recall one who was a, uh, on his chart in the hospital he was an architect, his name was Jensen, which is a very, very common name, probably about fifty pages in the Copenhagen telephone directory alone…
RASKIN: Are they all Jewish? Is that a Jewish name in Denmark?
ROBERTS: Oh, no, no, no, totally non-Jewish.
RASKIN: Non-Jewish!
ROBERTS: But I remember this particular man because this was the first patient I ever lost without being able to explain how did I lose my patient? And, nobody asked any questions. Um, I just reported off in the morning that so and so who had come in yesterday afternoon and he had disappeared during the night and, uh…(pause)
RASKIN: There were no explanations.
ROBERTS: Nobody asked for one, either. And, um, I was later told by one of our porters in the hospital that the transport had left that night from the laundry and, um, Copenhagen municipal hospitals are built in such a way that you come in one way and you go out the other way, you never have to turn around in there, and I have later learned that they had a very elaborate system. One ambulance would come in and you’d put a different license plate on it, so if anybody was waiting for this particular ambulance to come out, they wouldn’t see it because it had …
RASKIN: Vanished.
ROBERTS:: Vanished, exactly.
RASKIN: So is it your inference that this particular patient that you lost was lost for his, uh, betterment?
ROBERTS: He was on the way out…oh, definitely
RASKIN: He was being saved or he was being…
ROBERTS: He was being saved. No question about it. I know, but I did not know at the time, but that we were a clearing station in the hospital and that people would be brought in and they were …
RASKIN: Sick or not sick?
ROBERTS: Sick or not sick, they would be given a diagnosis, they would be put to bed until such time that a boat would be available to take them across…you see Copenhagen is, literally, about a half an hour from Sweden and a lot of transports happened from Copenhagen and, um, (pause) this was not the only one it’s the only one I ever wanted …you know, I never tried to remember, but I just remembered that one because, in a way, that was the case that tipped me off that this was happening and I said to myself you keep your mouth shut and you will see there will be more which was what happened. I lost several patients after that in that manner.
RASKIN: Well, that’s a good way to lose patients.
ROBERTS: Oh yes. (laughter)
I just have never been, you know, being a nurse and knowing how much uh, you know and how important medical records are, I have often wondered how on earth did we ever explain that we lost these patients and they were never seen or heard of again and there were no letters sent back to anybody, and
RASKIN: There’s different requirements for bookkeeping during this situation.
ROBERTS: I guess so and no charges made to anybody and no Blue Cross, no Blue Shield (laughter)
RASKIN: Were there any Jewish doctors on staff?
ROBERTS: Um, we had a number of Jewish names on our staff, but I don’t recall that we ever thought them as being Jewish. I mean, a person like Dr. Varmin Larson, for instance, must have been Jewish. I think he must have been Jewish, he didn’t look Jewish, but I think he was. Dr. Melchior, I would assume would be a Jewish name, um, but I never thought of Dr. Melchior as a Jew, I thought of him as an excellent specialist in his field. He was an ENT man.
RASKIN: You weren’t aware of, certainly, of, uh of Jewish people not being allowed to practice medicine.
ROBERTS: Um, um, I don’t think was any such thing happening in Denmark.
RASKIN: Well, I just wonder because when all the Jews went into hiding whether the doctors also disappeared from your staff?
ROBERTS: Now they may have, but I certainly don’t remember. (pause) But a number of them must have disappeared, (pause) they would have had to. (pause) But, of course, in a hospital setting, you are not aware of these things because…
RASKIN: Tell me this, were the Jews, the Jews never had to wear any kind of distinguishing marks as they did in Germany, would they? A yellow star?
ROBERTS: Well, um, I think the only one that ever wore a yellow star was the king.
RASKIN: Do you believe that he did?
ROBERTS: Oh yea.
RASKIN: I’ve heard that it was a myth.
ROBERTS: No! He did. It’s true. He didn’t wear it all the time, but I have seen him; I have seen him on his horse.
RASKIN: Is that right; on his horse?
ROBERTS: With a yellow arm band and with a star, yeah…
RASKIN: Well, he certainly set a fine example.
ROBERTS: Yeah, no, I, um, I just don’t think it could have happen in Denmark because, um, your authorities say we have no Jewish people, and Denmark is a very law-abiding country, so if there are no Jewish people, you can’t have arm bands on them. And I certainly don’t think of, um, I remember going to a student gathering at one point where everybody wore one and I was given one and I wore it also, and um …
RASKIN: What kind of a student group was that?
ROBERTS: Um, it was a young architects, um, and engineers and, uh, we were a number of us invited from I had known these young men from, you know, from back home. Neither of them were Jewish. But I remember arriving at this party and, um, being given an arm bank with a yellow star, I mean a yellow armband with a star and I assumed that this party may have been a clearing station for getting somebody out and, therefore, if everybody had a yellow star or a yellow armband, um, if the place were being raided because somebody had informed them the situation, but this is assumption on my part. I…
RASKIN: Well, how evident did you find Nazi troops during that time. I mean did you find them impinging on your life?
ROBERTS: Um, they were there, they were everywhere. They were in the shops, they were in the stores. They were in the restaurants. They were everywhere. Um, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s a little bit like mosquitoes. There is very little you can do about them. You’ve just got to, you can’t slap them all, and, uh, so you ignore them. And, um, it’s a very, very unpleasant feeling that you have uninvited guests, you know, it’s a little bit like having house guests, you know, after the third day, you wish you could tell them to get out of there. You know you can’t so you grin and bear it. And I believe that is what brought us through the war, uh, in a sort of sane manner. The Danes are known for having a good sense of humor and you can put up with a lot of trouble if you can have a good laugh about it once in a while. Um, they were very evident, you know. I don’t think we minded the troops itself as much as we minded the SS troops, you know, the sort of replacement of our police force with Danes who were doing the Germans’ bidding. That was a very, very distasteful, um…
RASKIN: What do you remember the functions of the Danish SS to be evident?
ROBERTS: Police, but you never felt secure with them because you knew that they were not necessarily your friends, but the friends of somebody else, so you didn’t ask for police protection if you were in trouble. You found some other way of coping with the situation. This is very different from the way it used to be, where, if you had trouble you would ask for police protection or help from the police and report things to the police; well you certainly did not report anything strange to the SS because, um, you knew that they would shoot rather than ask questions. So, um, you know an occupation, um…
RASKIN: It’s a terrible experience.
ROBERTRS: It’s a terrible experience and yet, you know, it’s terrible because of the insecurity. Not necessarily because of the things that are happening, but because of the things you know you might cause to happen if you open your mouth because you cannot trust your neighbor, because you do not know who’s going to inform on you.
RASKIN: You have mentioned that several times, were you aware of any of your friends or neighbors who had gotten into trouble because of informers?
ROBERTS: Oh yes, oh yes, very definitely. Um, people that um, were taken off to, well for instance, I have a cousin who was in charge of a book store during the war, and she, uh, was, well his whole book store was a clearing houses for books that were banned by the Germans. And, uh, they were informed upon and they were all removed and put in a concentration camp in Denmark. We had two camps actually in Denmark.
RASKIN: Oh, really. And what were their names; did they have names, the camps?
ROBERTS: Uh, yeah, there was Horserod, with a cross line through it, and the other one was in Southern Jutland. You know, I cannot, at this moment, recall the name of it.
RASKIN: And what were those camps, those were holding camps?
ROBERTS: They were holding camps, and, uh, she spent, I think, eight months there and then was released..
RASKIN: In the custody of Danes or, uh, Germans, um…
ROBERTS: Germans were keeping these camps, to my knowledge, but when she came out, she never talked much about it. She was, I think she came out at the end of the war, so she must have been picked up during the fall of ’44, but somebody informed on that book store and, um, these were, you know, this is only one that I can specifically name, and, but other situations were like that.
RASKIN: ; When you say “clearing house for banned books”, you mean that they sold them, books that were prohibited by the Nazis.
ROBERTS: Uh ha, but you knew that you could get them there and, of course, everybody got these books and somebody said, and they were all picked up, um, a raid one morning they just took everybody that was…
RASKIN: Well, that’s certainly an interesting tale of what was going on there. Is there anything else that comes to mind that, uh?
ROBERTS: Um, not, sort of, I mean there’s all sorts of tales that comes to mind, but, um, you know it’s very difficult to keep clear in your mind what you have seen and what you have heard, and I want to emphasize that, uh, you know there’s some specific things I’ve seen, there’s others that I’ve heard about and this is a long time later, but don’t let anybody come and tell me that the camps weren’t because I know far too well, from what I have seen and I don’t mean from what I have heard, I mean from what I have seen, that they were there and the food was very, very scarce and sickness was rampant and, um, as I’ve said, I’ve seen the people that were transported out of there and I’ve seen the, particularly among these, the ones who came back for various reasons before the war was over and who we took care of in the hospital, and, um, I know what they looked like and I am not very likely to forget it.
RASKIN: Thank you very much.
RASKIN: All right, This is a post script and you are saying that one of the reasons that, uh, that you haven’t wanted to remember goes back to…
ROBERTS: Yeah, I think, you know, um, I’ll go back to that patient I remember his name in the hospital, and I think I made a very conscious effort never to remember the names of these patients who, obviously, came through in transit because they’ll be marked to safety because it was so engrained in your minds that if you do not know, you cannot tell, so, therefore, you blank out an experience because there’s always the possibility that you may be brought in for torture or other kind of encouragement to tell what you know, and, um…
RASKIN: Is this something that you learned on your own, or do you think, that actually, that you were advised to respond in this fashion?
ROBERTS: I know my parents, in a quiet manner, encouraged me to be sure that if you do encounter anybody that is being brought to a safe harbor, that you, as quickly as possible, forget their names, if you have ever know them because what you don’t know, you can’t tell. I can still hear my father say this, “what you don’t know, you can’t tell” and, um, there are mechanisms, I think, for just blocking out what you don’t want to remember.
RASKIN: I couldn’t agree with you more. (Laughter) Thank you.

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