Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joshua Fishman - July 13, 1982

Life After the War

So, yeah, after I was released from there I came--joined back with my mother. Then we went--first opportunity I had I registered with the Polish citizen to go to Poland. First opportunity I had I went to West Germany and uh, there I registered to go--of course they didn't let the Jewish people ??? to so-called Palestine then as it was called. Uh, so I registered to both places, both the Israel and to America, whatever come first. My aim was Israel first but I uh, couldn't uh, face everyday see--to see the Germans--German faces when I was in Germany. The first opportunity I had and it was to America, I came here. That's where I am now.

How long were you waiting before you were transferred to America?

At that time I--it was a small ??? a small ??? for immigrants, 1940--1946--beginning of 1946, I registered sometimes in March and I left in July.

Where were you staying at the time?

I was in a DP camp ??? near Frankfurt am Main.

Can you describe the camp a little bit?

The camp? The camp was supported by the UNRRA--United Nations uh, organization for refugees and um, I uh, I was getting--they were giving us food and uh, this--there was old clothing from--they received from American Jews who use to send in their uh, used clothing, I mean. And uh, we were just waiting in the transit to, to leave--to go. Uh, the refugees uh, now as, you know, waiting since 34 years--Palestinian refugees. They have where to go. There are countries that would let them in to live there. And, in fact, many of these Palestinians came to this country to live here. They make a good living--some are pretty rich but they, they, they use it, they use it as a weapon against Israel. They didn't do what Jewish people did. Some were a few years there in the DP camps. I was ??? 8 months. Everybody settled. Nobody from, from the Second World War--Jewish refugees from the Holocaust refugees--nobody sta...remained in the DP camp after 1952. I think 1952 all the camps were dissolved--all those refugee camps.

Did you ever consider returning home?

Returning to my home?

At that time?

Uh, it's, you know, for more than one reason. First, first reason is Communist regime, not for me. In fact, if I wouldn't have left, if I wouldn't have left to Poland right away I would've been re-arrested. I was worried they'd enlist me I should--go in the bedroom. I was worried they'd enlist me, I should register right away in the, in the ??? and uh, otherwise I would be arrested if I would, if I would be found forty-eight hours without registration I would be arrested and sentenced to prison again. I was there a few weeks, I didn't register--I didn't want to register because I wanted--the first opportunity--take first opportunity to go away. If I would be registered I would be taken ??? and uh, then uh, I wouldn't have been able to leave so soon. Uh, then uh, I--when I was--of course, I went once to Dombrowitza and I found my house--where my house was, was just a lot. The barn was not there even, the house was not there. They took it apart by hand--not this way, took apart by hand. Brick by brick they took apart house, log by log they took apart the barn. And they--my mother saw--I was ??? one day. My mother was there before and she saw one Ukrainian had our house built on his garden--in his garden.

He had what?

Our, our, our house he had rebuilt in his garden. We know where the windows were. The windows were--someone in the village took our windows but he made other windows. Now when I was in Dombrowitza I--there was--I went to one Dombrowitza that was there that worked for the Russian government, of course, everybody worked for the Russian government. And uh, when I was in the ??? he didn't see anything because there everybody ??? talk. Some--the walls could hear too, as they say in Yiddish.

I understand.

Uh, when they came--in the evening when he came home they saw--he said, "Now I can tell you. The KGB asked me about you--where you are, so be careful." If I--if they would find me I would be re-arrested and sent back to jail. And being arrested for this I would be in jail for a few years.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn