Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Esther Feldman Icikson - October 23 & 29, November 5 & 12, 2001


What drew you to Detroit?

Well, the only reason my parents wound up in Detroit because of my sister. My sister came here because her husband had his family here in Detroit. They were the one who sent them the certificate to come.

What was their name?

Banker. And that's why they wound up here. And because of that my parents came to my sister, and because of that we came to my parents. It was as simple as that. So that's how we wound up in Detroit. And so uh, I was a little concerned, it wasn't simple, it was complicated. When I looked around, oh my God, here, I mean you know, what am I going to do in this country? Uh, uh, we came to Detroit by train, my sister and I think my mom came to pick us up. Um, they lived in a three-bedroom apartment--not apartment, a house. And uh, I slept in a--on a, a couch that opened up into a bed in the living room.

What did your brother-in-law do?

My brother-in-law worked for a company that made--I think that's what he did, made corned beef?


Kosher corned beef, yeah. That's what he did. He did okay, but they had problems, family problems and I think when we arrived my sister was getting divorced or was already divorced, I'm not sure or maybe getting divorced. So she lived together with my parents. With two children, Harold must have been--he was born in '48, he was ten years old actually. He was born in '48, that was '58, and Bobby must have been maybe eight--seven. Yeah. So uh, we came in into a uh, family situation where you have to do something, so I was a little nervous. But uh, I managed uh, uh. A few weeks later, well, I, I went to look for jobs. It wasn't easy. I thought maybe I could teach. But I needed to go because that wasn't my strength. So I needed to go to the midrash, which is you know, teaches you how to teach. And that was too complicated. But I had experience from nursery school, because in Israel while I was going to school uh, in the afternoon--it was secretarial school--I worked in a nursery school. So I had the background. I knew all the songs in Hebrew and dances and all kind of story-telling and... So I was looking for a job and I found a job. But before that, what I did find a job is I worked in the old folks home on Pataski.

Oy. The one that was falling apart.

Was it falling apart?

Well, that's what they said.

I don't know. I found this job, I had to be there at six in the morning. I lived on Clements. I didn't have transportation, so I walked in the morning. This was already...

You lived on Clemon?


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