Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Fred Ferber - September 11 & 25, 2001

Immigration to America

And the social worker, Jewish Family Services?

The Jewish Family Services in New York. And I told them, I want to go away where, wherever else eh, some other place because otherwise people will not believe me. If I go to where everybody else goes I will not be believed that I spent X amount of time in school and effort. And she did send me, she did somehow eh, she did me the favor. And she sent me to San Francisco to an orphanage called Homewood Terrace. It was a fabulous orphanage. There were two, two other children went with me. When eh, when we came, when I got off the airplane, we travel all night. When we got off the airplane, Mr. Bonaparte, who was eh, in charge of, of Homewood Terrace and one fellow, Polish fellow who got there a half a year pre...before, half a year earlier. He came to eh, take me off the plane. Eh, I remember eh, he told me that there's going to be an orphanage it's, it's a, it's a beautiful place, eh. The, my first words were that I don't want to live in an orphanage no matter what it is. Eh, orphanage at that time in my mind represented death, nothing but death. Because during the war anyone who went to a children home didn't survive. So in my mind I didn't want to hear about any orphanage. Mr. Bonaparte was a very bright man, very, he was psychologist or psychiatrist. Extremely bright fellow and he told me, you stay over there for a few d...for a few weeks, we'll find you a different place. We will, it maybe even someone will adopt, adopt me and he promised me that things will go my way. And, and, and the facts are that he did try to adopt--to have people to adopt me, to. I was supposed to be adopted actually. There two, three different people look me over while I was in, in Homewood Terrace. But first of all I realize, I have, I have a mother. I have a mother, okay. Then there, there was a different thing. Eh, and I finally told Mr. Bonaparte, I don't want to be a...adopted, eh. The, the reason for it was as follows. This particular orphanage was not like any orphanage one could ever think of. It was one of the nicest, well-to-do orphanages in the United States. The boys and girls--there was about two hundred of us and there was cottages. And every cottage there was about anywhere from seven to ten boys and seven or eight to ten girls. Approximately no more than twenty who lived together. The girls lived on one side of the cottage, the boys on the other. The sleeping quarters were on the second floor. And eh, in charge eh, of the particular cottage there was uh, a lady, like a godmother. Like a, like a, a lady--I forgot what we called her--but in our case her name was Mrs. Strauss. And there was also a helper, another, another lady who was helping. So there were--in every cottage there were two particular ladies, supposedly social workers who were in charge of this particular cottage. And our cottage was supposedly the strictest. Eh, was run by the lady Mrs. Strauss, who was of German origin. She was extremely strict. But eh, I, I can say that she taught me tremendous, tremendous amount.

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