Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Hannah Fisk - January 24, 1983

Anti-Semitism in Detroit

Mm-hm. Mm-hm. Did you come across any anti-Semitism here in this country?

Plenty. I was working in a market. In a, in a fruit and vegetable market in uh, Vernor and Livernois. Remember? The market there, the big one?

Husband: She probably don't remember

You don't remember?


And there's German coming there and Polacks coming there. And everybody. So, one Polish lady said to the other one, in Polish, she says, "Look at the Jews, are like the cat. You throw them out from the door, they coming to the windows. They didn't have nothing. Hitler didn't kill them enough." And I was listening to this. Kiddo, I went over to her and I grabbed her here. And I said to her--but I told her the real nasty word, I don't want to say it because I'm here interview--a real nasty word. And I says, "You get out of here." I says, "I don't want to see your face anymore." And I happen to have a watermelon there with a knife. And I says, "You see that knife? You come here once more and that knife going to be in you." She says, "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know you're Jewish, too." I says, "Yes, I am. I was five years in a concentration camp and you're going to tell me that?" I says, "Yes, I'm proud I'm Jewish." And she never came. My boss lady was mad because she happen to be a good customer. She left ten, fifteen dollars a Saturday, you know? She says, "What did you do? The customer went away." I says, "Ten other ones going to come back." You know what she said? "I don't care as long as you make the money." So you know what I did? I took that apron off and I face her. I says, "You going to see me like this?" That's exactly what I told her. I never went back. And I was working sixteen years with her. No, I, I am, I am very upset when I hear that somebody--who you think uh, throw the Nazis out here when they open up the stores? Who was there picketing? Me and him, in the Sharit ha-Platah. Who threw out Rockwell. You remember Rockwell was here a few years back?


I went over to the Anti-Defamation League, to Mr...


What is his name?


No, the other guy. He says, "Oh Mrs. Fisk." He says, "Let them talk. He's not..." I says, "Remember," I says, "It started in '39, too. We let him talk. We let him talk alright, look what's happened." I says, "You don't want to do nothing? You wait, he's not going to talk." Mr. Vederman, Mr. Fisk, ten other guys went there and girls went there. He didn't talk. They have a few knives, they have a few pistols. And they said to the guy what lived--what he hold the Rockwell there and he says, "Look. We don't care. We are coming out from a concentration camp. To us, it doesn't matter. But if he's going to speak, his head is going to be down." You know what they did? They took him a car and they get him out. But not American--don't be mad at me, sweetheart, that I'm telling you this--but not American show up. The new American--the refugee, show up to this first because there were people already standing and listening, wanted to hear what he had to say. You see? The same thing what with the Nazi stores. Wherever was a store, on Fenkell, I was there. I was there. Every Sunday we went.

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