Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bernard & Emery Klein - May 23, 1984

Farming in Israel

B: Yeah, finally three months later, in June, the rest of the family came out and we all started farming. We were told that uh, corn doesn't need water so we planted a lot of corn. He's laughing. Today we can laugh about it.

E: I remember I was the businessman of the family. I was given the assignment to take the corn to Haifa to sell. What an experience this was. I arrived to Haifa to find out that there is an abundance of corn. There's no customers and I had to give away the corn, I remember very cheap, just not to bring it back. But uh, this was one of the many, many experiences which in those days in Israel, I had experienced. B: In May days when I arrived, I had one other advice. I was told there was a shortage of meat. So I was told that raising chicken is a good way of getting yourself busy and besides being possibly profitable, you'll never have a shortage of meat. So my cousin advised me to buy, I remember, an incubator.

E: He wrote us. B: Yeah. And uh, 400 one-day-old chicken, which I did, and through a mysterious disease, 200 died the first night. So my enterprise was reduced by 50 percent.

E: But he wrote this to us, we were still home, so my dad went and bought the most modern incubator, which in Czechoslovakia those they produced, but between buying and us leaving, and uh, the creed came out that we could not take anything except our personal belongings, but there was still a way to get it out through somebody who was uh, registered with Haganah, and again I don't think we have the time to go into all the details, but in those days uh, the Russian and Iron countries, eh... B: Iron countries.

E: Iron countries were still very much supportive of Israel because they were fighting the British and uh, again, this we all know uh, those days the Czechoslovakian army and Czechoslovakian ammunitions were quite instrumental to win the War of Independence. And as a matter of fact, people who were, young people who were registered to go to Haganah, joined the Haganah, the Israeli defense forces were allowed to take certain things which other people weren't. So my father having bought this modern, so-called modern incubator gave it to this young man from the Haganah with the understanding there would be a 50/50 deal when we come out from Israel. In Israel, we would purchase his 50 percent and we continued Bernie's enterprises, this big incubator which turned out to be not really so up-to-date or modern as compared to the American incubators which already had. But uh, we tried to manage in Israel with uh, several different things which uh, unfortunately, didn't work out. B: Despite all the hardships, despite all the hardships and difficulties, I say. We, as I say, we were willing to start our lives there, but it turned out to be an extremely difficult climate and way of life for our father. And finally after a lot of consultation and urging from his sister here from the United States uh, we agreed that we will leave Israel.

E: Actually we had made... B: We thought we were leaving it temporarily, Emery and I. We were still very...

E: Actually... B: ...narrow minded.

E: Actually, actually we had made an agreement back at home with my, with our father that even though it was not his desire to go to Israel, we will all go to Israel, and give it the best try in the hope that we'll stay there. But the second part of the agreement was if this cannot materialize that we will all agree, as a family, to go to the United States. And as Bernie mentioned, even though our desire, in spite of the hardship, was to remain in Israel, but with keeping our promise to our father, we said we will go then, all to the United States. And that is how we ended up in Detroit.

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