Morton Dodek: Camp Hatikvah in the 1940s
Date:Saturday, July 18, 1992
ID:Digital audio recording #: 19.92-01
ID: And were these the years that you went to Camp Hatikvah? Were you one of the first campers at Camp Hatikvah or…
MD: This was, I’m just trying to remember the year, this would be probably about the same time, yes, would be about the same time, and this was a totally new experience for me because this was the first time that I was to be exposed to anything that had any kind of Zionist or religious overtones. And it was a, sponsored by the Zionist Organization. And the camp was located at Crescent Beach. And we went there by train and I remember getting off…Camp Hatikvah, this was the first Camp Hatikvah…
ID: Was it the Zionist Organization or the Council, National Council of Jewish
MD: Oh, maybe it was the Council, could have been. But it was Zionisitically oriented, same with the songs and the whole concept was.
ID: And who was the camp director, do you remember who it was?
MD: One year Morrie Rothstein was camp director. This may have been the second year I went. I think there was another, there was a husband and wife, the first year I went there there was a husband and wife from Israel who were camp directors...they shared the directing of the camp. And I thought it very strange because this was the first time that I was ever learned to sing in Hebrew. And I remember I really wanted to go home…the first few days because I felt so strange.
ID: Why did you feel strange?
MD: Because I, there were a lot of other children who were there who I guess knew the Hebrew songs, there was another, Young Judaea, who was existing, coexisting with AZA, not very strong, coexisted with AZA. So I actually this was the first exposure to a lot of other children, other people that ordinarily wouldn’t have associated with.
MD: But as it turned, we arrived in the camp, there was a whole, there was a pile of straw or hay and some, and we had to stuff some sheets, and that was our mattresses. And things were very, very primitive.
ID: Did you sleep in tents?
MD: We didn’t sleep in tents but they were wooden huts with outdoor plumbing. But after the second day it turned out to be a beautiful experience.