Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maximilian Kowler - April 26, 1984

Sharing Story

And was that...

And with the, with the--my work for the agency, and uh, came back then, we decided then uh, to come to the United States, which we did then at the end of '51, I'm talking about. I was in Israel in uh, for three months--in February, March, April of '51--that's right and we came to the United States in December '51. I came back from Israel and we decided to emigrate to the United States.

Let me--because it's late, let me jump ahead um, do you uh, do you talk about the experiences during the war uh, with, with many people?

Yes. I uh, I never did in, in New York, or--again, I don't know. I never, I never talked to anybody about it. It uh, the only time um, the whole thing really came up was I went to the Jewish Center in Merrick, where I lived uh, for a talk by a man--his name is ???, I believe was the name, and he was a member of the crew of the Exodus. And after the talk I went up to him and asked him--went, introduced myself, and he was completely stunned. Naturally, he didn't know me; I didn't know him because I didn't know anybody on the Exodus. I saw the boat for the first time at 4 or 4:30 in the morning when daylight was coming up. That's when I saw the boat and everybody was on the boat already. We just came to the boat then to say good-bye, and that was the end of the story. So uh, and he asked me what I was doing here, and then, naturally, then he questioned me immediately about uh, some people, because he thought maybe I was faking it or whatever, you know? He didn't trust me like I didn't trust him in a way, you know? So he asked me about certain people, and I told him--gave him answers. And I told him exactly who worked for the Mossad, and all that, you know? He was completely stunned, and he didn't know what to say. And then he said uh, he said uh, what I--what I am was doing in Merrick? I said uh, "What do you mean, what I am doing in Merrick? What are you doing here?" And then we started to talk about uh, the Exodus. Uh, another time I talked to somebody, I had a tag sale here in my--on my parking lot here for old things I was selling, and then somebody came from a camp not too far away from here--and a man with two youngsters and the two youngsters spoke ???. And I told him, "You're speaking ???." He said, "How do you know?" And I said, "I happen to know ???--not that I speak it, but I happen to know it." He said, "How come?" So I told him who uh, who I was, and how come I know it, and he said, uh, if I remember correctly, he's the captain or the second captain--the father was captain--the second captain of the Exodus. And this was a youngster who worked here in the Camp Shalom, which doesn't exist any more in, in the area, I think it was in Beckett, or was around here somewhere. But I never spoke about it until uh, really--I came to the high school here.

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