Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Fred Ferber - September 11 & 25, 2001


Well let's see if it's--it should be about to flip, so many we should stop.

I'd like to tell you a little story, which is really not a war story, it's a post-war story. The assistant to Mr. Bonaparte was Mr. Liebhof. Mr. Liebhof was uh, Mr. Bonaparte was a wonderful fellow. He never would say anything wrong to anyone. He had his own way how to make the people great, how to--the children loved him. Eh, he, he would, he, he was committing himself to do good for the children and, and everybody knew he's a wonderful individual. We loved him. Mr. Liebhof was also a great individual, but he was more eh, whether it's necessary he would get aggravated much faster. Eh, he would get aggra...but Bonaparte never got aggravated. Eh, so Mr. Liebhof one day in the morning, I--when he came, we were going to Lincoln High School. He came over and I said, Mr. Liebhof, I told him that I would like to apply to City College of San Francisco to uh, I'd like to go to college next year. I, that I was hoping eh, eh, that I will graduate during the summertime with my cap and eh, eh, hat, and cap and gown and, and I go to college starting September. And he got, he said, "No it's impossible," this and this and that, eh. But he said he'll get back to me.

Why would it be impossible?

He will, he'll go back to school, he will get back to me. He, he came back from school next day and he told me that I'm not doing that good and it will be impossible for me to go to college. We'll have to spend more years in, in high school. And I argued with him, he hit me across the face...


That was the only time after the war I ever got hit across the face. Eh, I, I couldn't fight with him, you know, eh. [pause] All, all I can tell you that a week or two weeks later, after the school was ending and Mr. Bona...Mr. Liebhof was waiting for me, was waiting for me and, and says that he's going to take me to City College to San Fr...in San Francisco. And I was explained, I, I was, I, I ask him why. He, he told me that he was wrong. When he was inquiring about, about me from the teachers, the teacher really told him about David Milka. There was another fellow going to eh, the fellow who originally met me at the, at the airplane. He was also going to Lincoln High. He was also part of the Homewood Terrace. And that he got wrong information. He got infor...information about the other fellow, not about me. When he went back to, to, to school, when he talked the teacher eh, told him that she, that she was--there was a mistake made. And at that time I was--he said he, I have to start City College in, in the, in the Spr...in, in the, during the summer session. And I was disappointed. I say, I want to, I already wanted to go with a cap and gown. I, I wanted to be like everybody else. But he said, "No." He explained it to me that City--the colleges are not like high schools. There's no one helpful over there. And he would like me to take one or two courses during the--if, if they let me in--to take one or two courses during the summer session in order to get used to the college way of, of, of learning. Eh, in any case, we went over there, there was whole number of tests that I went through eh, English, the, the, the regular entrance exams. And the only one I failed on was the mathematics. It's one thing that I knew better than anybody else, but, eh. They understood after I explained it to, to the administration that, that inches and feet and yards are, are, are eh, eh, are foreign to me and it took me too long. These, these were very simple eh, eh, very simple eh, questions over there, but I had to first translate the, the inches into feet into yards into miles. So they let me in that school, and, eh. So I, so I went to summer session over there and the next eh, year and a half I was going to City College of San Francisco. The story is that once again eh, I, I, the learning eh, I, I, was--I made a tremendous effort after I lost the six years eh, to be seventeen years old and going to City College of San Francisco already.

And you were.

And I did, of course.

[interruption in interview]

I'd like to bring out one other part, kind of go back a little bit. Eh, on the airplane while traveling from New York to San Francisco, there was a overnight flight. And eh, at that time there was, airplanes were much smaller and I was traveling with another fellow, one more fellow--two fellows, sorry--Hungar...they were both Hungarian, Hungarians. And after we got the food and eh, everything was fine, the stewardess came up and asked me questions eh, where I'm from and whatever. Then she asked the, the fellow next to me who was eh, the fellow from Hungary, and he told her he's a fellow from Hungary, etc.

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