Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Peri Berki - December 9, 1983

Refugee Camp

So you came to New York and then he didn't have work because he was...

Yeah, he immediately... My sister is the best person on this whole earth, not only that she gave... You know, one day in back in, in Hungary, after the World War, War was over, one day we got a notification from the, from the post office that we have some package, we should pick it up. And we got twenty-six packages because it was, it was withheld. They didn't have transportation and thing, and my sister every Saturday she spent it on me. The whole, our neighborhood everybody admired us. We came home, my, my son had to take a little...

Cart. PB Cart, yes. It's funny, I will never forget that. We gave cocoa, soda and cocoa and sugar, oh my goodness, the most beautiful thing. And then we arrived to American and my sister was the just – well, unfortunately she died a few weeks ago—best person in this world, she sent us all this money and packages. And when we arrived uh, my son came—oh, it's so long, maybe...

No, it depends on you, if you want to tell.

While we were in that camp, we had to be... There, there, there was, that was a refugee camp, there were one thousand two hundred people in this, in this barrack. And they check the visas and then they couldn't send everyone in the same time. And unfortunately there, there was a, an American captain and I remembered he had a very fitting name. His name was Savage. I will never forget that, because his name was. I don't know how can a person live with a name like that.

You think it was fitting?

Yeah, because he, he gave preference to people who gave him money to come first. You know, and we, we were waiting, waiting, we were there for six months, nine months. Finally my sister sent with all, all the ??? to us with his name and we had difficulty. So she sent him a gold watch with a gold band and then we got our visa. But it, it was difficult there. From there it was a little bit difficult because the, the fear period was over and we wanted a little bit more regular life than, than standing in line for... The food was marvelous. The UNRA was the name of it, United Nations Repatriation, I don't know, or something. And to, to feed that many people. In, in that barracks was one thousand two hundred and all over the city, I don't know how many tens of thousands. And we had always the same food, dried eggs. And, and then we became choosy. And during the war it was good bread with, with water. This is how life, how people are.

Well, it's natural.

Big adjustment.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn