Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994


Where did they live, your uncle?

Brest ??? my uncle lived yeah, but they all disappeared. I don't know. You know when the Russian came and the German came, I don't know what happened to my uncle. You know how the guys in school will ask for it. He was a heavy one. So it was rich, I mean the rich people had ??? a piece of fat it was delicious, you know. And goose, schmaltz from the goose. I don't know if you need that. You think so? You know, dosizgeven, oh, I got a carp, like here, carp fish is no good, but in Europe there was. ??? is best, like the fiddler, you know what I mean, what do you need to ??? just so they think he is rich. 'Cause coming back, you see a lot of people exaggerate. Why are you ashamed if you're poor? Why is it, if you poor, that you're ashamed if you have to exaggerate. What's wrong with poor people. Poor people are good people, too. Nebekh, they just don't... Listen, I didn't know what means rich. When you had food to eat enough. That was richness for me. You lived in a nicer house, but you said, "Who?" I didn't know nobody was more than one room, maybe one room and a half, but three rooms, seven rooms, eight, I mean there was in existence of, here also, it wasn't like this. Now, when I came to America--you know where Twelfth Street is?


There was one room. They put six families. And I thought it was luxury, believe me. ??? Afro-American, around the same, you know. My kid was afraid, Sonja. She said "I don't want to put it in because it's not nice," She said. No, in Germany we didn't know, you know? And we had one bathroom with almost six families. I don't want to exaggerate, yeah. And everybody had a child. Do you know what it was to stay--that was in 1951, in a line, a little child say, "Mutti, Mutti" she spoke German then, "??? machen in die hosen! I'm going to make it in the pants, Mutti, Mutti, Mutti!" I just didn't know what to do. ??? It's a child, what was there to do? I had a little potty, so even when I came here, but it was sweet as sugar. I did not complain. One kitchen--six woman. I cooperate like you wouldn't believe. Two months, we were there, but we were in America. We loved America. We loved the bananas. We loved the cottage cheese.

Who found you the place?

Uh, the Jewish Social Services.

Jewish Services.

Yeah. And the minute my husband came. He was quite bright, because right away, he says, I'm not a charity case. You know, the Jews. "I'm not a charity case." He start right looking. So we found a place on Gladstone between Lawton and Wildemere. A flat. But, God, it was a castle. We cleaned it up and everything. They gave us a little furniture. After three months and they keeped on sending us checks and then they say, enough. So we found a little place, three or four checks, he send them back and they say, take it. You need it. He says, no. We repaid everything with percentage you know, because the proudness of us is just to get in my head or born there, I remember. I put them--I had two rooms. So Sonja has slept with us in the room. She was four years old. Four and a half. I rented for an old gentleman. He was alone. He paid me $25.00 a week. And I saved up that money and bought myself a dining room and I was in seventh heaven, the dining room was still downstairs, you know. Everybody, I took care, it was a clean gentlemen. Was very lonely and had a little store right on the corner of Linwood. He was in his eighties, walking--and I lived about three or four blocks that way to Dexter. And he walked and he was so grateful that I speak to him Yiddish and I cooked him up a little soup sometime that he blessed me everyday 'til he died. You know, and then after three years, Dave was already in business. Does that interest you?


The way we did.

I want to find out how you, how you got here, though.

How I got here to America?

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