Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lily Fenster - November 8 & 10, 1994

Arrival in America

Let's go back to Ellis Island for a second.

Oh, when I came, when I came to America, oh that was the happiest day of my life. My husband was very sick on the boat when we came. We traveled twelve days in February and everybody was sick, except me. My little girl was...and my husband thought he was going to die. And my daughter used to tell, "Mutti, where's daddy? Where's my father, where's daddy and daddy..." because they separate the women, separate and the men separate. And they didn't let me go in to help him, because there was Poles. They took care of us and this guy complained he's sick. They told him to go to work. I said what you want me to go to. He's a sick man. Nothing, he's going to be okay. It was the name, General Stuart. It was a cattle boat, I think it was, you know and it was a lot of seasickness you know, because the ocean was very rough, very rough and then we got stuck in a hole somehow. I didn't know a ocean can have a hole. I don't know and everybody was sick, so when we came, okay, we survived. The children and my daughter was sick and a lot of babies. There was a lot of people. There was Poles was, Ukrainian, was all sorts of people, because it was like people coming this place--places and that time was when Truman gave the--I mean like he made it law that he wants to take 400,000 more and thanks God we were among them, because we didn't have no relatives to give us affidavit. We didn't know nobody in America to want to take us. I didn't want to go to Israel Dear God, forgive me. I said, I lost enough. I don't want to do it. You know. So we came to Paris Islands, was very dirty I have to tell you that. It wasn't so clean and then, also, we waited in Bremenhaven for the longest time 'til they get organized with us. Kids got sick, they made them quarantine. What does the sickness? Measles or chicken pox, so we were delayed again and delayed again and delayed again and it was a terrible process 'til we come to America. When we came there, I seen a lot of handwriting, so people wrote all kind of and then I heard a lot a uh, uh, speaking languages, different sort of, by then, because there were other people left on the same boat. Nobody speaked English, just a little bit. What else could I tell you about it. It was a very pleasant situation. I just...

Did you live in New York?


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