Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Isaac Engel - June 16 & 25, 1992

Immigration to United States

When you came to the United States?

Oh yes.

And what was the reaction of people in the United States to when you told them about it?

That they didn't believe that something like this could happen.

You had relatives in Detroit?


So how did you come to Detroit?

I uh, they assigned people in different places. They didn't want to put people in uh, in one place. So I was assigned here to Detroit, Michigan. Some people they didn't want to leave New York, they want to stay in New York.

Was there a decision that you had to make about whether you wanted to go to Palestine or whether you wanted to go to...?

Yes. I had, I had a passport to go to Palestine. I had already, we had everything and a matter of fact I sent some stuff there. And uh, my wife had a brother there. And uh, I have a cousin there. He uh, her brother went from Italy in 1946, he went also illegally to Palestine that time. But then, a guy came back from Israel who went on a trip there and that was in '49. I asked him--so he told me like this. He says, everything is fine except the living condition was very bad. They had people in the, in the uh, tents you know, and they call 'em ???. And uh, and so here we were living comfortable and we had, you know. And to go there, and we had a child. And to go, so and so. Then I changed my mind and I had an opportunity to come here. So I went here. Went to the United States. I wasn't in a hurry to come, but I didn't want to remain in Germany. That was out of the question.

Did you have contact with Germans while you were living there?

Oh yeah.

Friendly, unfriendly?

They didn't show. They were, they were friendly to me, let's put it this way. I did business with them. And I didn't encounter any problems with anybody. But most of 'em were Nazis. Some of 'em had to be, some of 'em volunteered to be.

So you were uncomfortable.


You were uncomfortable there?


No, there. Living among Nazis?

It wasn't uh, that's why I wanted to leave there. I didn't wanna--otherwise I, I could probably be a millionaire if I wanted to stay in Germany. That's why I, I didn't want to remain there for no money.

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