My grandfather was a wonderful person and he said about the Nazis, it cannot happen in Hungary, maybe in Poland, maybe they didn’t know, maybe, maybe, maybe, and we had all kind of maybes, you understand, and we didn’t want to believe. Because just like you are sitting here, you would not believe. What, Germany? Germany is wonderful, they wouldn’t do that. When I arrive to Auschwitz, I say to my sister, you know, somebody made a mistake. Very soon they will come and apologize. Somebody will apologize; we don’t belong here. People running around in pajamas, what is this? Insane asylum, what is this? It cannot happen. We did not believe like you would not believe, you would not believe that it can happen in your town. We didn’t believe. And unfortunately because we didn’t believe, this is where we got.
In Auschwitz, there is a thousand people in a barrack, can you imagine that? In the barrack there is a bunk and six people are on it, nothing, no pillow, no cover, no nothing. Just one little piece of cloth, and if any of us wanted to turn on our side, the others had to turn to that side also. It was so cold, unbelievably cold. In the beginning, you know what I did? I gave away my bread. I say, I will not eat this, this is terrible bread! I got shiny brown shoes on me then, and somebody said they give sometimes a little margarine here, I said, margarine? We never had margarine, we ate butter, you know. And I put the margarine on my shoes, until I realize this is our food. So you slowly adapted yourself to something so horrendous that you cannot believe the human being can be like that, or do that to each other. So this is what we have to do, beautiful people, this is what we have to do: not hate, not to hate, not ever.
Now you cannot imagine what it means to go out to freedom after Auschwitz. How do you go to freedom? How should I enter freedom? I did not even have a dress. I was sent to Sweden and someone invited me to Passover. Someone gave me a blue dress. I went to the door and I could not enter. I walked around in the flowers. Finally I went and opened the door, and it was beautiful halls and beautiful tables and people, you know, and the lady who invited me, she says, there is a little room there, why don’t you just go and change? Ha, I didn’t have anything to change into! But I went to the little room and saw a calendar and I said to myself, I will learn the days in English, and so I learned all the days until all the guests arrived. Finally everybody sat down, and they started to talk, and guess what they talked about? The price of the gold on the international market. And I thought, my god, this is how you celebrate the Passover? You know how many people were put in the crematorium a day? So very quietly I took my coat and walked down into Stockholm until I had no tears. I thought, what will I do with my freedom? Will I be quiet or will I scream? But it cannot happen again! At that time, I decided, I will not be silent. But of course my art is very silent, because some of the things you want to say, words are not enough, and only the art can talk.