Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Miriam Biegun - August 10, 1983

Early Marriage and Settling Down with Husband

Um, you lived in Israel for ten years. All right, when did you meet your husband as a um, as someone you who you were more, more uh, interested in than just two people on a ship at twelve years old?

Oh. Oh, we were in a camp together, you know, it was Mahane in Israel, it's not a camp like you think it's a camp, you know. It just uh, together so the people wouldn't get lost because, you know, they have to be careful. It was still in '49, you know, you move one, one step forward, and you could be, end up with the Arabs. So, he was a friend with mine--a cousin of mine, but I saw him a lots on the ship, and he saw me on the boat. But we were in the, in the camp together, and then we moved to Kfar Saba. His parents bought a house in Kfar Saba. Mine auntie had a house in Kfar Saba, and he used to come to my little cousin, friends.

And what year were you married?

Oh, in '54.

Okay, and uh, so you had already been in Israel for five years?

Yes, I was fine--after five years of marriage, I left Israel.

Okay, so you were 17 when you got married, and then you came, you were, you were, what, 22 when you came to Canada.

Canada, yes.

What made you come to Canada?

My sister was there. My sister, when she came from Germany, she came to Winnipeg. So I--my sister took us over. I, I wouldn't leave Israel, but the fighting was too much. See, he was in '56 War in Sinai.

In Sinai.

Yeah. El--Arish, Sinai. And then I figured, I have a sister. She wants I should come over, you know, my husband was away. It's very hard. Constantly, you know, your husband is a soldier, you know. It was for training, you know, and then you have the fighting. He was away for fighting. And there was a woman that she got killed, you know, and then my sister want me, I should come with the others. I don't have nobody in Israel. Better be close to the sister.

So you came with the, with the baby?

Yes, she was three years old.

To Winnipeg. What was life like in Winnipeg? Was it...

It was cold and hot like Siberia, you know, starting all over again. It was very cold, but the people are very nice there. You know, the Jewish community, very nice, friendly. My husband worked in a factory, you know. I worked in a factory. He was in um, kitchen chairs, like that, and I worked in a factory, you know, sewing things, pants for children.

Then your husband's a carpenter.


What made you come to Windsor then?

My sister moved to Windsor, so I followed my sister.

And then to Detroit? Why did you...

I wanted all my life to be in America. But we couldn't get to America. I mean, I have cousins, but they never asked that to help me. They're born in Brooklyn. They never asked that to help me. So I came to America--I came--we wanted closer, closer to United States, you know. It was difference, like a dream, you know, America, a free country. So, my sister moved to Windsor. We moved to Windsor. And then we decided to move to the, you know, over the border. And I said to my husband, "We're not moving any more. That's the last time." So.

Was it everything you hoped?

No. Little bit disappointed, but that's life. [laughing]

Right. Let me uh, have you ever been back to Israel? Have you gone back to Israel?

Yes. I was a couple times back to Israel.

You still have family there.

I, I just have cousin, and my husband has his sister and brother there. His parents passed away a couple of years ago.

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