Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joshua Fishman - July 13, 1982

Desire to Move to Palestine

Before the war, before the war broke out, what were your plans for the future?

Before the war broke out my--I was looking for the first opportunity to go on aliyah to Israel. Of course, there was no Israel then and the English didn't, wouldn't uh, admit too many Jewish people. There was a quota. You, you must have known from the history about this. And uh, I was uh, very much uh, uh, a patriotic Zionist. And uh, even those who were not Zionists--the, the Jewish population all, all over Poland and uh, other coun...other countries too, if there would be uh, there would be open gates, as we--as you say in Yiddish ??? they would be admitted either to America or to Israel--that they called then Palestine. Most of the population would leave and go because we had a sense. We didn't know exactly that there's going to be such a, a, such a terrible Holocaust. But we knew something is coming. We had uh, we felt, we, we--it's like an instinct you could call it.

Did you have any kind of clues or uh, did things happen more uh, at a certain point that gave you this instinct?

The--we heard uh, we heard what uh, the Nazis uh, had pronounced. We knew the Nazis had pronounced themselves against the, against the Jews. They, they said uh, uh, they didn't say they were going to kill them all, but uh, we heard about their anti-Semitism. It's very well known. And uh, we knew the aggressiveness of Hitler that he was going to, to try and uh, occupy other counties and Poland was the--one of, one of the neighboring countries. And uh, this what happen the Israeli--they were attacked first.

But the Jews lived through persecutions for hundreds of years.

Yeah, did. They did. Uh, they were not, they, they were not given opportunity to, to establish their own, their own uh, country Israel, as we did after the war. And...

Was--okay, I'm sorry, go ahead.

Yeah. And uh, after uh, after what had happened after the Holocaust, this was a big contri...a big contributing factor for the establishment of the state of Israel, which if someone would ask me and I, I'm sure most of the Jewish population whether uh, it was the Jewish uh, whether the Jews should make such a sacrifice to have their own state of Israel, they would not agree on this.

Were there a lot of others like you who felt the same way, that there was something coming?

I'm sure. I'm sure. The majority. We didn't know exactly what's going to happen, but uh, we knew some calamity's going to happen.

When did you start feeling like this?

Oh uh, I started reading newspapers when I was about eleven, twelve-years-old. Very, very young, I was very young. After two or three years I got acquainted with international policy, politics and uh, I felt that, I started to feel it then. I started to have this uh, kind of fe...call it instinct.

Were any of your other members of your family politically minded like you, either belonged to the Bund or Zionists?

Yeah, my uh, sister was uh, uh, until maybe '3...1934-35, '34 she was uh, in the Betar. That's the youth from the Revisionists.

The youth from what?

Same party. The Revisionists.

The Revisionists.

The party, the party that's uh, now Likud. Begin's party. Uh, then after she went uh, to learn uh, dressmaking, she got involved uh, with uh, in the--among the working people and uh, she went over to the Bund. She was in the Bund. She was not a active Bund, but she, she was uh, very sympathetic with the Bund. In fact, the newspaper she was getting was the Folkszeitung, which was the organ of the Bund. And uh, I read this paper. Uh, they were very much anti-Zionist. There were so many articles anti-Zionist that there, I remember all the writers from the articles. And uh, the more I read about uh, their articles against Zionism, the more it made me, it made me uh, stronger in my beliefs in Zionism. Because you could feel by reading it, that's only propaganda. Uh, that's uh, the same propaganda is now being provided um, from Russia. If you have a shortwave radio maybe you, you pick up something. I don't know if you--if it pays to listen, but uh, sometimes maybe you hear propaganda from the Russian agents.

It's fun to hear the other side.

It was, yeah.

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