Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Helena Manaster - December 9, 1983

Moving to the United States

Did you remem...

And I came to Vienna--when I came to Vienna, the people in the HIAS said, "You are another Moses. You took the children out from Egypt." [laughs] Yeah. But uh, we had visas already to the, to the States. My sister applied for us so we got the visa. The visa were in Warsaw really, we didn't--they didn't rush to give it to us. They sent it to Vienna, we picked it up in Vienna. And then we had another encounter on the, on the border. They kept me on the border for twenty-four hours. Oh, there was some legal procedures. When you leave the country, like other Jews, you had to make a list and whatever you take, or you don't take and you can do it only once for a family. And since I left without my husband, and he said, "I will do it when I leave," because all the books or whatever he had, medical instruments and so I only took uh, personal belongings. But, it was too much, supposedly. Not only this, I think a year earlier I was visiting in Israel. I was in the States visiting my sister who died a half a year later, I haven't seen for thirteen years, because she left Poland in '37. And from here I went um, to Israel. So, I had a uh, Israeli visa on my Polish passport so, maybe that also contributed to it. Well, anyway they kept me on the border 'til the next day. So, it, it was quite experience to leave Poland. I remember when the train--and it was Robert, he came in when we finally passed the checkpoint and we went to Czechoslovakia and he said, "Now you can, you can be free--breathe free." We passed over the border, so they were not coming anymore. Oh, they made a personal searching. Yeah, that was '68 when I came to the States with uh, three of my children. One went straight to Amsterdam, to the Netherlands, so he lives there. And from the three of them, now each of them are in a different place. Arthur, the one who was born during the war, he lives now in Scranton. He teaches computer science. Robert went to Israel--first in the Netherlands and now he lives in Israel. How long Robert, ten years? And the youngest is Alexis, he is a professor of linguistics in Ann Arbor. Do you know him?

Yes, I've met him.

And I lived Chicago for fourteen years, worked there in an office, learned accounting and worked accounting here in a charitable organization. And I retired last year.

You retired last year.

And now, I am leaving for Israel. I'm leaving, as a matter of fact, tomorrow.


So this is not the end yet.

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