Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Mala Weintraub Dorfman - September 15, 2005

Life in America

Did you have a sponsor family as well?

Yes, the Pozezs. They were wonderful, wonderful people.

Is this the Payless Shoes people?

That's right, yes. They were wonderful, they adopted their own children. And when I got sick and I had to have surgery, that man was sitting next... because he was speaking Yiddish. The only one. The rest didn't. And he sat there all day long to help me, to tell them what I want, what to do, or whatever. They both passed away, both, but we're still friends with the family.

So, they were going to make Henry a shoe store manager.

Yeah, but he didn't want to, he didn't want to. Well, a small town, we had, there was no future for us there. And we couldn't, you couldn't make friends there because they were all assimilated Jews. They belonged to a Temple. I could not go to a Temple. We went once, I said that's not for me. The Pozezs made a little uh, shul, you know, few people to have a minion and to daven there. But this was not for us. There was no future. So, we came to Detroit. And we came for a wedding first and I saw people were talking a language that I could speak. So, I said, "Honey, you know what, we're going back, we pack up and we come." We got in a car, both of us, not speaking the language. And we took a map and I was following the map, he was driving, and we came to Detroit.

I remember Henry said he went to Eastern Market...

That's right.

...and he asked if he could cut some meat.

Yeah, yeah. First he went to uh, Hudson's uh, out of, there was a Hudson Company and he worked there for a little bit. And then... but he still was going to the Eastern Market. And uh, what's his name was it that he gave, uh... Meckler, Irving Meckler. They said, they took him in and he said, let me show you what I can do. And he said, okay, if you can do it, do it. And he gave him a break. And he got into the Eastern Market. And uh, then he didn't want to work for somebody, he wanted to work for himself. So, he start looking for a place and there was Schindler and he was selling his little place and we bought it and that's how it started, our companies.

What did your sisters think when you, when you left?

My sisters... I left the first one from Germany. Then Franka left. And Rosa was in Bremenhaven, but she had a problem because she had something on her lungs. Nothing there was anything wrong, but there was a spot. And later it was tuberculosis and the American wouldn't let her in. But somehow the, the rabbi from uh, from Buffalo was a friend of the family, of M... George's family and he came to Germany. And he said he's going to guarantee for them. He's going to take 'em because he had family in, in uh, not in Buffalo, in Springfield, Massachusetts. And whatever this, she'll never have to go to, to the government to help her. And they all signed papers and she came, the last one. She was in Springfield, Massachusetts, Franka was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I was in, I was in Topeka.


And Mr. Pozez got 'em all, both of them from Topeka and from Topeka we all came to Detroit.

You all came to Detroit.


You said you were in the hospital in Topeka.

Yes, I was. I was twice, not once.

When you were in the hospital in Topeka, did that bring back any memories of...

No, I was, I was relaxed.

...the hospital in Skarzysko?

I was very comfortable because I knew that Mr. Pozez's right there. Whatever they see will tell him what's going on. Or he will tell me what's going on.

So, you didn't have flashbacks...

No, no, not at all, not at all.

...to your appendicitis. Has that ever happened when something touches off a memory.

Oh many times, many times. I wake, I wake up in a sweat when I dream about it. I dream like the, the Germans are behind me, I have to look at who's behind me. Oh yes, many times it happens to me.

What about at simchas, weddings, bar mitzvahs?

Listen, we-it's a new... Like I'm going to have bar mitzvah for my grandson. I mean, we're happy. Now we are happy, we have a family. I have children, I have grandchildren. I have, you know, cousins and nieces and nephews. So, we go to a simcha. I do think about my parents, if they would be here it would be different.

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