Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Fred Ferber - September 11 & 25, 2001

Meeting Wife

Okay, so we're at the point I think where you're looking for a wife.

Okay, I'll go through it quite fast. I, I was fortunate eh, I was doing well in these United States. Eh, I, I drove nice cars, I had good business, I made some good friends. Eh, a lot of mothers eh, when I serviced televisions and I serviced thousands and thousands of homes. At, at first myself and then I became a benchman myself where I take took care of people who walked into the shop, and uh,, uh. But while I was servicing televisions, all these wonderful mothers eh, cared, cared very much for me to meet their daughters. And uh, so, so, so eh, things were going quite nice, eh. I was fortunate that I eh, had very good relations with number of, of, of beautiful eh, women eh, girls, eh. We--in our own, so, in our own group of the newcomers, we had, it's a fabulous group of people that we had, that we had parties just about every Saturday night or something like that. So things were beautiful, eh. Even the ones who were getting--who were married, married or getting married, we still stuck together and, and uh, had a good time. I was fortunate eh, that I didn't marry anyone else because I was fortunate when I was, eh. I was thirty-one, thirty-two years old already, I realized that I'm getting old, older and my mother was after me to get married and I realized that I have to become serious. Things went my way. I found out at one time that there's a new girl from Poland who lives in New York now, who come from my hometown who eh, eh, is going to come to Detroit to visit her aunt. And so many people came to my store, told me that. They wanted to make sure that I, when she comes in that I'll, that I'll meet her. And uh, and I said "Of course I will," and I, I was happy to do so, eh. And then came the day that she was in town. And they had some kind of eh, shindig, some kind of eh, eh, affair. It was a Greenfield eh, and 7 Mile, I believe, eh. And I was asked to come over there later on because Miriam, the girl from Poland, will also be there. So I had a date that evening, but eh,, eh. And with this date I stopped over in this Workman Circle...

Workman Circle.

...that was the place right, the place. I stopped over and just as I walk in over there I see on the stage a girl in a beautiful, in a green dress, a beautiful girl with a guitar singing some Polish songs and some Jewish songs, eh. And I immediately got out of there real fast. I said hello to a number of people, but I didn't want to, I didn't want that person on the stage, that Miriam eh, to see that I'm with another girl eh, because I knew that I want to take, I wanted to, to, to, to meet her. And she spotted me anyhow as I was told later on. And eh, eh, and anyhow I asked, I called for a date and we went out. And eh, from the moment we eh, met, speaking for myself, I, I knew that eh, she will be hopefully the girl for me.

But she was going back to Poland.

She was not going back to Poland.


She was going back to New York.

To New York.

She went here...

What was she doing in New York?

...in New York. She had two broth...two uncles in New York. See, there, there was a problem, which was not quite nice, but I'll tell you about the problem. Her uncles and the aunt in Detroit knew that there's a Jewish girl in Poland with a family by the name of Laczkowska. One of her uncles actually visited Mrs. Laczkowska after the war, right after the war. And Mrs. Laczkowska didn't want to give up the child to him, which was my wife, didn't want to give up the child to him because it was right after the war and she was looking forward to meet the mother and, and hopefully the father to give it back to the, to, to the, to the parents and she didn't know the uncles. The uncles, for whatever reason, they went to America and they never, never inquired about that girl. My, the, Miriam and the Laczkowska's had a very hard time. Mr. Laczkowska died in Mauthausen, as I stated before. She was eh, sewing at home and bread was very hard to come by, extremely hard for them after the war. Very, poor as, as can be, eh. My wife never had anything. Miriam, when she was a child, never had anything of her own pretty near because she couldn't afford to buy it, anything. So it was a heartache that the family here in America if would have sent only a dollar or two dollars eh, a month. At that time a dollar in Poland was a tremendous amount of money. And they did not inquire and didn't send any help. So my--the girl I met--Miriam, she was kept. The, the two brothers found -- how, how did she come here to this country? The two brothers heard on the radio that uh, one of the main rabbis in New York uh, Rabbi uh, I think it was the Lubavitche Rabbi, uh.


Schneerson advertised that he's sending people to Poland to look for Jewish children.

A fishing expedition.

P...pardon? A fishing expedition to, to look for Jewish children, for hidden Jewish children and others. And um, uh, and at that time they came to the Rabbi and told him about the girl Miriam who is uh, eh, their sister's child. They sent out a rabbi to Poland and the rabbi in Poland was--when, when Miriam was six...when my wife was sixteen, he came to their home, she was, she learned totally that she was Jewish at that time. Eh, Mrs. Laczkowska would not let her go, Miriam wouldn't go with him out. But Mrs. Laczkowska said that two years later after she's through with high school he could come again. And eh, two years later the rabbis came again and it's, it's quite a lengthy story. It was not easy for Mrs. Laczkowska to give up her child. She did not know the truth, whether she's going to go to America. She c...didn't, Mrs. Laczkowska distrusted the people because she didn't truly know what's going to happen to her daughter.

Miriam's told the story.

Miriam told the story, so it's, I'm not going to go into it. The only thing...

We didn't get to the point where she met you though.

So I'm just going to say that she came to the United States, she lived with her brothers. Eh, so all I can tell you that there was another fellow here in Detroit by the name of Herman Weidman ??? memory. He's not with us anymore. And he was single at that time. And he says to me, "You know that girl is a nice girl. Maybe I'll go and visit her in New York." He told me that. So I thought to myself, you're an idiot. I said, "You think I'm going to let you get ahead of me?" you know. Anyhow, I sent flowers eh, to eh, Miriam to New York after she left and eh, spoke to her over the telephone. Eh, did some other things and went to visit her and eh, she came back to Detroit once. It didn't take long. Eh, she visited Detroit I think it was eh, probably eh, April, May, I don't remember when it was. Probably April so, eh. We got engaged in, in, sometime in June or July.

This was in nineteen fifty....

June. It was 1962. It was 1962, uh. We got engaged. There was a, the problem because eh, she became my--Miriam was very religious at that time. Because the rabbis took her out of Poland, she spent a lot of time in Belgium with the rabbi. She knew, she thought that being Jewish you had to be super religious. She didn't know any other way.

So she came from being Polish Catholic to being very...

Very religious...

Orthodox Jew.

They expl...the rabbis explained to her the, the beauty of, of, of, of eh, different things, of eh, of--they explained to her that there's really not too many miracles in our religion, eh. And, and she took to it eh, she took to it, eh. When I went out with Miriam I had eh, a corned-beef sandwich and coffee with milk and she would have tea. Nothing else because she would not eat eh, eh, anything.

But she went with you anyway.

But she went with me, a...absolutely. I had a lot of problems because eh, by the standards of the people that she stayed with I was eh, I was, I--and I was not religious. So eh, there was a big problem for these people to even allowing us to get together.

So you were.

They considered me a, a non-Jew pretty near. But it, it worked out at the end. It worked out at the end. It was not easy, truly, but it worked out at the end.

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