Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Ilya Martha Kessler - November 1, 1982

Immigration to United States

And when you came here, what made you decide to come to Michigan?

My husband two sisters was here.

Were here.


Okay. Uh...

I wanted to go back to Israel.

Did you?

Yeah. A long time. And then I realized it's good for me. Better than there was.

Yeah, yeah. Um, did you become a citizen? Did you both become citizens?

Oh yes, five or six year. Yeah, yeah. My husband was waiting. I was five and my husband six years, so.

And have you always lived in this area since you came here?

In Oak Park. In Detroit and here.

I see. Okay. What were your feelings at first when you first came to the United States? Your first impressions and your first...

I came... I said I go back to Israel. When, when I, you know, I came to New York and mine uncle what was... came from the camp and lived in New York, they was waiting for me, so I spend with them uh, one day. Because my husband was here already a year, so I wanted to come here first. So, when I saw him here--they lived in Bronx--I said, "If Detroit looks like Bronx, next day I go back to Israel." Israel is new, clean, nice, lots of friend and that's what our plan. And when I came here, I felt that we decided with my husband to, to have a new life and to come here and build us a new life, you know. I, I like that my dreams are and came here. I was very lonely, because I didn't have... I didn't know nobody here. So, I start to feel ??? So, my husband joked with me, said, "If you make the money what I pay for the trip to come here, you could go back." When I need three thousand dollars, I work in the old folks home, yeah. I work... My husband said to me, "Now you want to go back?" He joked. I said, "No, I stay with you." He laughed.

You said you stayed with your uncle for awhile in uh, the Bronx.

One day, one day.

And that was your father's...




...okay. And he, he survived the war and came here before you?

Yeah, that's the guy what uh, that's the uncle what I said I had.


Yeah. Two uncles I had. They killed both their kids.


One uncle had two, two kids, the other one was pregnant wife, and the kids, and they killed them, so they... The older uncle came--with five--came home with just two kids back. And the other one they ???


And uh, so they was waiting for me. They wanted to see how I look.


They ??? and they was very happy I come home and I going to have a better life.

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