Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Irving Altus - June 2, 1982

Thoughts of Leaving

Did you think, personally did you think about going to Russia at any time or, uh.

I was for it, to go, when they want us to send to the border. But by myself, I wouldn't go you know, because I didn't want to leave the family, everybody. I mean, it was different, the life in Europe the people were more knitted in together. It was not such a thing--okay, with normal times before the war, if I would have to go to America, I would go. My parents would be happy. Maybe they would like it, maybe they didn't. You know, like mothers and fathers, they cry a little bit. But it's a happy occasion to cry, you understand what I mean? But in uh, war times to pick up myself and leave everybody, I don't think I would do it. Well, like I say, if I would now go to my aunt to America everybody would be happy, you know.

But you never had that chance.

No, no, no.

It never really worked out before...

Never had that chance.

You mentioned that meeting um, the Germans had that you attended. Was that with the entire community or with...

They called out the, the, the entire Jewish community to the synagogue, to the, yard.

So they had all six thousand.

I don't know if they all, but I would say the majority were there and they made this offer. I was there, I remember. And uh, they said, "We are born here and we want to die here."

There was no, there was no time to discuss it, no?

To talk over, discuss, no, no, no. Maybe between themself just a handful of people probably. Like I say, the rabbi's was the speaker. We had like a, you know what a shochet is, he was the cantor too. So you had like two or three and a couple people from the Jewish community center. Over there was the Jewish Gemeinder you know, you understand a little bit Jewish?

Not much.

So I have to explain it. It's like the Jewish community, you know. But it was in a small thing. Not comparison to here, I mean, didn't have nothing.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn