Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Pauline Kleinberg - October 28, 1982

Dealing with Segregation

So he picked himself up, by himself, and came. And when he told me there are people, they are Jewish, you can talk Polish and I have a job and I make sixty dollars a week and that I'm going to build--join the union in a month, I'm going to get a raise. Yeah, so we were with one more couple, I said four. So I come into those uh, we lived next door. You know, in a bungalow together. Whatever happened there every breathe I--we--I, I, I could hear and they could hear me too. So I said, look, "Avrum is writing a letter, it's so beautiful." Because there they took me to work for fifty cents, it was there that, that those, uh...

Husband: Segregation.

The segregation was still very strong in 1950.

Husband: Black men worked for fifty, for fifty cents and white women get seventy-five cents.

And there you walk into a bus, it was black to the back, and all this, you know this. You go to a show, blacks and dogs are not allowed, you know. And they treated the newcomer, you know, another animal, the same. So uh, so, but he made thirty dollars and a penny. When he wrote me--the other men--the, the other couple that came, he made same--the same uh, money. When he said he's working in a factory and he makes sixty dollars and he said if he's going to join a union he's going to make more. Boy, I tell you we were happy. But then later I hear that he says, ??? if this is true, I'm going to get uh, golden uh, uh, hair growing out here. He didn't know that I was hearing this because when we got here everything, it was a bungalow. Then I got sad again and I write a letter to him. And I asked him, I said, "My husband is a very sincere man. He has never lied to me. Then, maybe, maybe he wants to make me happy, and do a little lying now." So I wrote, I said, "How can you prove that you make sixty dollars a week?" He said, "I can send you the stub," and he sent me a stub. When I showed him this he--so the other man said, "When can I go to Detroit too?" And you know what, they're--he's here, he's here.

Husband: A ??? was here..

So, you know, when I came...

Husband: ...Paula stay with me.

...after that, there are a few more families came. It was like a chain. They said Christopher Columbus discovered America and Avrum Kleinberg discovered Detroit and we all came to Detroit.

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