Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Fred Ferber - September 11 & 25, 2001

Reunited with Mother

Tell me about the reunion with your mother when you came to Detroit. You hadn't seen her for, what, a year?

No, two years just about, two years, right, it was--I left at '47 and eh, I left eh, that's right, late '47 and she came eh, eh, to Detroit, I believe '49, so. It was about two years. What can I tell you, it was eh, [pause] it was eh, heartfelt. How would you express this eh,, eh. [pause] We cried, like--you know, it was normal, we cried, we were happy, we, we hold each other, and eh, eh, it was a beautiful reunion.

Did you, did you then or had you ever talked about what you each had gone through during the war?

My mother did not. She told me some, sure and I told her some. You know we have easier way to talk to each other than to talk to strangers 'cause, because, as I said before, even in, in a way of jokes, because we understand the situation. Even if we talked about atrocities, we, we don't say it with eh, to each other we don't say it with a, with a horror in our eyes or in, in our expressions. We say it in the way that's eh, that's eh, [pause] it's, it's, it's can even be funny. Because eh, if we talk to each other, to, to the mutual Holocaust survivors, you know.

It's almost joking.

It's almost joking, it's always like that, uh.

Did you ever talk to her about your brother?

Oh yes, a, a lot. She was always hoping that he will survive, but eh,, eh. He didn't. We missed him forever. What can I say, you know. You have a brother, you live with him for twelve, thirteen years, and eh, and, eh. A strong boy, healthy. Stronger possibly than I was. I was probably an inch taller, eh. I was lucky uh, eh, and eh, he was sent to Auschwitz and here, here. The statistics are, the facts are that the whole, the whole 5,000 people uh, uh, went out through the chimney, so to speak, eh. Didn't make it um.

You're back in Detroit now and, and did--you went to Wayne?

Yes. I went back in Detroit. I, hard to find a job. Dodge-Maine was on strike. I had many, many jobs. I had a job with Currents Department store in the fur department. I had a job on Gratiot Auto Supply uh, uh, rebuilding generators uh, uh. Whole number of other jobs. Goodwill, Goodfellows uh, selling uh, not selling--giving away shoes at Christmastime. Eh, but finally where I took tremendous amount of tests with the Jewish Vocational Service. I was hoping to get eh, to get eh, eh, money from the Jewish Vocational Service to, to, to go to school, to go to Wayne. The problem was that all my tests showed that I'm good in social, in, in social works, in social, what would you call it, eh.

Social science.

Social science. But I, I, but I wanted to continue engineering. And they wanted me to change. But I already had over two years of engineering behind me. I did not want to change. Mistake or not mistake. They did not give me any money. They gave me a paltry one hundred dollars because I took all the tests and everything el...else, and, and that was it. They would have given me some money every semester if I would have taken eh, the courses that they wanted me to take. But that would mean for me to-- I, I was, I was set on going on, on engineering, that was wrong, it would be wrong for me to start from scratch doing something else. So I continued with engineering at Wayne University. I spend eh, pretty near two years at Wayne. I did not graduate. I did not graduate because there was another school called Electronics Institute. Ac...actually, Electronics Institute in Detroit was t...teaching electronics and I decided to go into the electronic school. It was a three year course. I made it in one year because of my background. It cost me sixty dollars a month for the school. I was probably one of the very few people paying for it. But I was working at the same time as I was eh, I was working at the same time eh, as I was uh, going to school. So things were very--I was always going to school and working. I was, at Bob Warner Corporation I worked for two and half years, night shift eh, eh, so, so. Even when I was going to Wayne University, I was full-time in school. And I made a lot of friends at Wayne, a lot of friends eh, which are still friends of mine, eh. And you may know some. Like Becky Kowalski used to be, eh. She's eh, she's teaching piano now but, and her husband was eh, the violin eh -- I forgot his name at the moment. Anyhow, a whole number of people that I, went to Wayne with me that I know yet.

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