Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Kalmas - May 25, 1982

Disliking Living in the Southern United States

Why Nashville?

The Jewish community center was sponsoring "X" number of refugees. I was the first one there. I had a good reception. I had a good reception there from the Jewish community. Very fine people. Terrific people. Very friendly, very hospitable. That if they could help in any way, they did. But I had to leave Nashville. I just couldn't stand the signs that says "For Colored" or "Colored" on the busses "For Colored to the rear." Or uh, the wa...water pumps and said for "White" and "For Colored." I said, "Damn it, I just got out of that shit in Europe." 'For Juden Verboten,' here I came into the same shit house." I got in a fight with a--on the, on the street car there. Because I'm not supposed to sit in the rear, I'm supposed to sit in the front. The rear is for the Blacks. The truck driver--the bus driver stopped the bus and he ordered me to go up in front. I said, "Why?" He said, "Because you are White and these are Black." I said, "It don't make any different to me, they're human, just like I am." We got in a little fight. I came back in--back home to the lady that I live there uh, a Romanian from Romania. She says to me, "Mr. Simon, you move up North because there's no, no place for you in the South because you're going to get killed." That's how I came to Detroit.

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