Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joshua Fishman - July 13, 1982

Life in the United States

Did you encounter any problems in the United States when you first came?

Uh, yes. It was hard for me to get a job being without skills. I was in business with my father back home and didn't have any skills. I worked in a grocery store and there I earned 25 dollars a week, six days a week. Uh, then I went to a cleaning store and I got 40 dollars a week which was an improvement, five and a half days a week.

What year was this?

Uh, '46. In '47 I worked in a cleaning store--in a cleaning shop, I mean. Then I went to a different cleaning shop and made better wages which was, I made there that much--50 dollars a week. I couldn't uh, when--then in, in between business I didn't have any job. I was, I was always looking the papers and the ads to, to look for a job and I'm scared, you know, it was hard to find a, a job. I was ready to take any job. I was taking jobs load...loading trucks, everything, as long as it's a job. Once I went to Cass Tech myself and I know you can learn a trade there. And I told them, "Is there anything I can learn with poor eyesight?" He says, "Poor eyesight? No, not at all." And I didn't know--I didn't have, I didn't have any advice. I was--I didn't have, I didn't have much help in this sense--in this field. I didn't even have much help from the Jewish Vocational Service either. I--sometimes maybe some people don't like when I say that but I have to tell what, what, what's the truth what happened with me. They could, they could've--even now they don't do it--they could send many Jewish people to learn skills but they don't. I--after struggling getting jobs, later on I bought a grocery store and I was in business about seven years. And uh, my eyes were getting worse and worse. It was hard for me to figure by pencil--to figure out the bill for the customer. I bought a, a little adding machine that allowed me to see the numbers there. I was uh, taking a bi...crayon, big crayon. I used to write with this, figure out--then--I, I am good at math. I was figuring in my, in my--figuring without writing, without writing by pencil and pen but customers wanted to have something to see to check the figures. Even though I did not--I know I did not cheat them but uh, I know the customer has to have it. Not all people could trust everybody. So, it was hard on me. After I married my wife helped me a little as much as she could but she had to take care of the children and the house.

How did you meet your wife?

I met her here um, I could, I could ???

Wife: It was blind date.


Wife: She knew me and she knew him.


Are you, are you from the States?

Wife: I'm from France.

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