Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Benjamin Fisk - November 8, 1982

Life in the United States

Did you encounter any anti-Semitism in the United States when you came here?

Well, you show me someone that likes a Jew. I worked with the guys, you know, some of them, you know, I know how it is. The guys they talked to you nice because we worked together, we eat together, drink together but when we're not around they don't like us. Nobody likes a Jew. I know it. You don't have to be too smart to know that, you know. Some of them speak out, you know. But I had my policy, you know, whenever I came--doesn't matter where--but I went to get a job first thing, before I even got started I said, "I'm Jewish." I wasn't gonna hide it and you know people liked it because you know, some people wouldn't tell, you know, they were Jewish and they would...

Wife: Tell her about this Pole named Chester.

Oh yeah, there was this Polish guy. He was in Oak Park, you know, my first--I was a carpenter, I was ??? a carpenter, you know. I didn't have money to buy any tools, you know, I didn't have a car yet. So, I was working outside, you know, and he, in Oak Park was building a house and it was getting cold already. And the guy what was his name? ??? He was an old man, you know, old man ??? He was a contractor, you know. He said, "??? It's too cold, you know, to be outside and to be a carpenter. See that? There's signs all over the place that they need carpenter." I didn't know nothing. I didn't know the name ??? or whatever, whatever it is, you know, I was a greenhorn, you know. And uh, I came in, you know, he took me lunch time, you know he took me to the site and uh, and uh, he went into the model over there and what was his name ??? and the other guy two partners Jewish people they owned the company. They had a Polish guy; he was superintendent on the job. Soon as I came to him I told him that I'm Jewish, he took me over and said, "You're my friend, you're going to be my buddy," he says and this was the truth, you know, and they gave it to me.

Wife: ???

He said, "You can tell they're Jewish, you know, you can smell Jew," he says, "a mile away. Why be ashamed? You live through so much and on top of it it's a Jewish company why you have to hide it?" you know. It was more, you know, I ruptured myself. I worked for the guy maybe half a year, you know, half a year--I ruptured myself. We lived on ??? you know, and didn't have any money, you know, and, you know, I worked with the guy--he was very nice guy, you know, I worked and they helped me. I was very young and uh, I helped them too, you know, they were really good to me, the guys that I worked with, you know, in the company over there. They collected money not only from the jo...not only the guys they were working with, they went to the boss, you know, ??? dollar every day, every second day they used to come to the hospital, you know, it was on the boulevard and 14 Mile...

Wife: Providence.

Providence, you know, they lived on ??? near the hospital. He used to bring me corn beef sandwiches you know, he brought money.

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