Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Szymon Binke - June 16, 1997

Emigration to America

Um, you came to New York and how long did you stay in New York?

Three months.

Were you planning to live there?

Uh, maybe. But my uncle was here already, so I ca...I took a, a bus and came to Detroit. And we liked Detroit. We didn't like the hustle and bustle of New York. And I went back and we all moved here.

And so you were eighteen at the time?

That was 1950? Yes.

You, you moved to Detroit.


Um, was there any help offered from various agencies in Detroit?

No. We didn't need any help in Detroit. We just got a job right away and...

And you had learned English already.



I learned English probably a little bit in New York, because I used to go, for, for a quarter you could go to a movie and see continuously different films. So I and you could stay there as long as you wanted. So I'd see two, three films, you know and uh, mostly cowboy movies. And I'd learn a little bit that I could converse. Oh, I also was going to school in Germany and I learned a little bit, so I could uh, converse a little. Not much.

But when you came to this country you didn't go to school?

Here? No.

But you watched a lot of movies. Do you remember any of the movies?

Oh, cowboy movies mostly.

Uh, you got a job in Detroit?


Doing what?

In a steel factory, a little factory on Clay and Oakland.

And your father?

My father got a job on East Eight Mile Road, also in a steel factory, R.C. Mahon, doing structural steel.

How did you get to work?

Uh, bus.

Both of you took buses.


Where did you live?

We lived on Pingree, 2450 Pingree, between uh, Linwood and LaSalle.

So right in Detroit.

Oh yeah.

What happened next that, that you remember that sort of stands out in your mind?

Well, my father got married in Germany and she had a daughter and my father adopted her. That's when we came over here, so she was also Binke. Then, well, we lived on, on Pingree, then we moved on Tracey, which was in the northwest section. And uh, then I got married.

How'd you meet your wife?

Met her at a dance in the shul on Wyoming and Curtis.

You remember which shul that was?

Geez, I don't remember. It was a City of Hope Dance.

Your wife's name?

Celia. Celia Rae. Her maiden name is Nessel.

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