Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Simon Kalmas - May 25, 1982


Mr. Kalmas, thank you. It was an excellent interview.

I enjoyed it.

When I called you, you said that you're not experienced, you're not a celebrity. I think you did very well and I appreciate it.

Well, I appreciate it. Compliments. I'm a self-made man and I'm proud of it.

I can understand why.

I have...I haven't seen a illiterate Jew and I've been around. And I met people under all kinds of circumstances, and I know their lives, and--but they're not illiterate. He might not be as good in English as somebody else. But he's good. I ran into a landsmen in Philadelphia. Poor, poor--what we would call here below poverty level, okay. Here in the United States he's an automobile dealer. And I thought to myself, "Where else in the United States?" And also a self-made man, also a self-made man. Because people from our age didn't have the opportunity or the chance or the place or the country or the people to, to turn out what they can give from themselves, you know, to others. They come to the United States, they are blecher like me, you know, at home we call it a blecher, a tinsmith. A blecher like me, who--there was the kitchen, there was the shop, there was the kitchen, there was the shop. To come to the United States and have a little factory? Making that work and, and, and machinery. Where else? United States. At one point I made the right decision.

By the way, I wanted to ask you, I never asked you how you met your wife.

My wife?


Oh, I met her here in uh, in uh, Detroit. She's American born. She was born in Mount Clemens.

And you have one son that's a doctor.

And then my--the--my daughter is in college. She is uh, graduating next June. So my son is in, uh, in uh, residence in uh, in Topeka, Kansas. And uh, I'm proud of him, both of them. And I'm proud of myself. I accomplished a lot. I suffered a lot. It was worth it. 1

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