Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Benjamin Fisk - November 8, 1982

Moving to the United States

Um what year did you come to the United States?


In '49? Okay. Did you have any trouble getting into the States? Did you have any trouble getting into ???

Eh, you know, they made her ??? than me. You know, I was the sick one, she was the healthy one, you know.

Wife: ??? Jewish program ???

They came to a ???.

Wife: That's why we want to stop now ???

We tried to go over there, you know. We had some friends. I think they're still alive. I couldn't--when I came to America I had nothing ??? not a word nothing. That's funny I could speak Polish, Russian, German, Czech, you know. Here I come and I couldn't understand a word, you know, they didn't want to talk in Jewish. They could speak Jewish. The Jewish people, they wouldn't talk any Jewish. When they come to the synagogue, between them they talk Jewish and they see one of us coming they speak English so we couldn't understand it and you have to learn, you have to learn. Maybe they were right, I don't know.

What were your first feelings in the United States when you first came here?

Well, we didn't expect much, you know. I knew that money didn't grow on trees, you know, like most people were thinking, you know. I had a trade and sooner or later I figured, you know, I'll go to work and I'll make a living, you know. That's the way it worked out.

You went to Oklahoma and you worked in a factory there?

Worked in a fact...I actually work in a junkyard for thirty dollars a week--sixty cents an hour. This was the initiation. The guy was a millionaire and we were working--he was, you know, having a big party--five million dollars, you know, and we were working for, you know, the newcomers, you know, ??? some of them over here too in Detroit and we were working for sixty cents an hour. He was taking advantage of us--of their own people, you know, but I guess you gotta pay your dues, you know. If they were good to us we probably would've stayed there in Oklahoma City, you know, but, uh...

You stayed there for how long?

...there was no way, now way we could make a living over there.

For eight months you stayed there?

Yeah, we were there eight--nine months? She was a little longer, you know. She stayed another two weeks, three weeks, four weeks, you know.

Did you become a citizen of the United States?

Oh yeah, in Detroit.

In Detroit.

Yeah, in Detroit.

When was that?

Wife: Nineteen fifty-four.

Fifty...fifty-five, '55. 1955.

Wife: ??? exactly to the day.

Did you...

Did we apply in Oklahoma for citizenship or we applied here? Here?

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