Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Edith Kozlowski - August 19, 2010

Living in Detroit

He finally came over. Tell me about your life in Detroit after the war?

Well, when I came myself, I walked--worked--went to a Polish bakery, to learn English.


You know, I am Polish. For a little bit. We lived with my auntie, all five, she with her daughter and the three of us.

What did you...

I worked forty-eight hours a day. I had such corns, I did this...


??? saved us, that's why I came to the United States.

Daughter: Forty-eight hours a day? EK No, a week.

A week.

Husband: A week.

At the bakery, or at...

Yeah, at the bakery. But I wasn't ??? there. I went to the Jewish neighborhood. I was making there twenty-five dollars, and long went to the Jewish neighborhood and I was making forty-five dollars.

A day--a week?

A week.

A week.

Because I was a big shot already, I knew English you know.


Well, I don't know if you want to know the rest it's...

[laughs] Yeah.

Not important...

No, it is important.



Alright, I--so I worked in a Jewish bakery, that's interesting.


When he hired me he had there somebody else. An older, Jewish, woman that came after World War Two--One.

One, so she had been here awhile?

Yeah, she was there, yeah.

So she...

And she was the manager.

Did she consider you a Green? Greenhorn?

When I came in, Mr. Pearlman said, he saw how capable I am in business. You gonna take orders for bar mitzvah cakes, wedding cakes, whatever. You'll be in charge. When she heard that, okay she didn't do anything but she was mean to me.


You know how uh, bakeries are, they have those cases, glass cases.

Display cases.

Yeah. So, you have to--the people are--there's, there's they pointing what they want. You have to clean it.


I'll never forget. Today we use Windex. The name of that stuff, blue stuff, was Romite. I'll never forget it. I said, Bertha, I'm taking fifteen cents from the register, I put in a slip and I'm getting at ??? the Romite. There were two customers in the store.


And she said, you just got it the other day. I said, Bertha I was thirsty and I drank it, and I left the store.


And I bought the Romite, and I cleaned the window. She didn't tell me to. And I went in the back, and I told the boss, I won't leave you until you get somebody else. But I do not--I cannot work here. So he put a sign, all the way in the ba...in the window.


Sales girl wanted. And the following Friday he told her to go.

Oh he fired her, got rid of her. So how long did you work for him?

I felt guilty, because there was a grocery store next door, a market.


??? market. And he was coming into the bakery, to shop. He said any time I'm ready he wants me as a cashier, next door. So, I don't know if I worked a year there. So I went to work there.

At the grocery store, next store?

And I didn't have to--yeah he gave less hours and a few dollars on the, side at--yeah.


In fact, he wanted me to be a partner. He was a teacher in Tech High, a professor.


So no, I said no groceries.

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