Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Benjamin Fisk - November 8, 1982

Working Under German Occupation

What about working?

Well, we worked you know I worked a little bit, I worked for my brother, you know, and later the Germans took all the machines. They take--they took everything away and all the jewelry and all the trade-smiths had to go work for the Germans. They had like uh, let's say a place like Cobo Hall, a big market, you know, all closed up. A tremendous place--blocks and blocks and blocks, you know. And they took all the machines from the Jewish people. All the carpenter machines, you know, maybe uh, three, four hundred machines or something and great big, you know, like here they would ???, old country they had big ??? about 30 inches wide. Tall, tremendous big machines, you know. They put them down and they had all the Jewish people were, were working for the Germans. There must have been five, six hundred people wor...they had painters and uh, everybody was working down there. Matter of fact my eldest brother, you know, he has--he had fifty peo...well, fifty people were working just under him and he wasn't the only one. There were a lot of them. He was cutting the material. That's all they were doing, cutting the lumber up, you know. This and this and this, you know.

What was--what were you making there, do you know? Was it going for German war materials or was it...

No, no, it was stuff they were taking to Germany, you know. One section was making that, one section was making uh, you know uh, kitchen ??? one section was making ??? you know, all uh, anything. Everything was being done and they had painters and they had everybody to finish it up, you know. So, you know, making furniture, they had people polishing this and other things. Hundreds and hundreds people working down there, working for peanuts, you know, for nothing. I used to work days, days in the factory, and nights, you know, nights I used to work at home at, you know uh, special shop. I used to make kitchen cabinets because otherwise you couldn't make a living, you know, because they took cows--what they had the Germans took away. One night they came, you know, with chains, you know, and we knew already what was going on, you know. We told we didn't have ??? in our backyard ??? and the Germans didn't allow it. They made from the school, there was a brand new school you know in the back yard, you know, and they made a penitentiary out of it, you know. And you couldn't have no cars over there or nothing, they moved everything out. Even the lumberyard had to go, you know, it had to be--they didn't like to get any people around that close, you know, to the jail. No, but we lived there quite a while until we were told we had to go to the ghetto, you know. Yeah, but when we went--when I went to the ghetto my parents were gone already. They took my parents like I told you, it was right away. Then they evacuated everybody. I was so--I was working in the factory and once in a while I would sneak into Sosnowiec, you know, to our friend, the Polish people to get some stuff, like food and stuff. It was hard, you know, I couldn't go back to the ghetto. I'd come back in the morning to sleep someplace in the basement or hide out some place, you know, and then next day go work and then go back, you know, you had to go back in line like soldiers, you know, to go back.

Did you have a Kennkarte card?

Yeah, everybody had the card.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn