Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joshua Fishman - July 13, 1982

Finding a Job

Uh, yeah, as I was going to tell you, I went--before I gave up the store I went to the office Services for the Blind. And uh, I told them I want, I want to learn something, you know, anything I could learn, a trade, a skill. Told me yes, they told me yes. There was one black man, ??? was his name, who worked there. Uh, he, he--I said, "What kind of skill can I learn?" "You can be a mechanic, you can be uh, even a watch maker." I said, "A watch maker? Now you're kidding me." He said, "No it's the truth." And this, this I know, there are no blind watch makers. And he was--that's when I encountered anti-Semitism--one of the cases I encountered anti-Semitism in this country. I came across before too but this was uh, something that--in connection with myself. Once he told me "I have for you a business, a little business." You remember Hudson's factory? Hudson's motor factory?

The motor car company.

Motor car, yes.


It was, it was uh, they were out of there--they were not working there anymore but the--it was still--the plant was still there and there was still some management there and the one who, who had a stand, he said, "You can take over that stand." I said, "How much could I make there?" He said, "Nowadays, you can make about ten dollars a week." I said, "I don't want it." So, he, he, he gave me some trouble because I didn't--I refused it. There was another one who--he was just inside the office--another who was going to look out for jobs for, for people--for blind people. Uh, he was blind himself too ???. He was also the anti-Semite.

Wife: ???

Winters, remember?

Wife: ???

No, Winters. The one who was ??? He went--he was--they sent me to the ??? to see what I can do. My abilities--to find out my abilities and they saw that I am, I am able to do some uh, work. I am handy doing things. And--but they didn't find me any jobs. They didn't, didn't send me anywhere to learn or anything. So I didn't--I gave, I gave up the store. I had to give up the store because I couldn't make any business there anyway anymore and I didn't have unemployment and I also was on welfare at that time. And they didn't, they didn't find anything for me. I called them a few times, nothing. Then about nine years, nine years later--also for a reason, he came, he came here--Mr. Winters, he was the one who looked for placements uh, he said, "Would you want to be a piano tuner?" But he did it also to, to, to make me--to find out if I do, if I do want to work or not. Not only to find out if I would work, I would work. He knew, he knew that I would work but he wanted to help me in a different sense. So I said, "Yes, I would be happy to do that. I was looking for--didn't you know I was looking for that all the time and I gave up already?" So then they sent me to learn piano tuning. It was a school in Detroit. He was himself blind, the instructor and he taught me how to tune pianos and repair. Now, the problem is I uh, I was getting a lot of jobs ??? and until--it's about seven years I think, I was getting better and my business was getting better and better but then my general health tells me I shouldn't be able work so much which ???. I still work at this but I cannot work steady.

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