Holocaust Survivor's Guilt Over Survival

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We continue our two part series about the SelfHelp Home in Chicago with a conversation with Margie Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer says she is among a handful of Holocaust survivors at the home.

"We do not talk about the past that much, if we talk at all about the past," Oppenheimer said.

The SelfHelp Home in Chicago was established in 1938 by European Jewish immigrants for those who escaped Nazi Germany.

Oppenheimer says she was supposed to have died at the camp she was detained. She was marked to be killed because commanders at the concentration camp determined she wasn't fit to work. She slipped away under the electric fence and went to a different barracks.

"The next morning we had roll call again, and the commander said there's one person too much," Oppenheimer said. "And I knew I was that person."

"Instead of me, he took another lady, which I still feel guilty about," Oppenheimer said. "She was killed because of me. And I can't forget it."


  • Margie Oppenheimer, Holocaust survivor and 90-year-old resident of the SelfHelp Home in Chicago.

This segment aired on September 9, 2014.


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