Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Samuel Offen - December 27, 1981


You mentioned your, your wife. You, you have a family now.

I do have family.

How many children?

Two. Actually I have, I have uh, Jerry. Jerry's twenty years old. A lovely, lovely son, he's uh, graduated from Michigan State University. He's an engineer and he worked uh, as an engineer at Ford's. Uh, and I have a beautiful daughter, Gail. She graduated from uh, University of Michigan, as did my wife Hyla, graduate of uh, U of M Ann Arbor. Uh, and uh, Gail, just all kinds of things. She's a lovely, bright young person. She's interested in writing. And right now she's working at the Donor Advertising Agency writing commercials for television, for radio. And she just got engaged a couple of weeks ago and she's going to be married next June. So that's going to be a little naches that I am going to have out of my uh, well I shouldn't say na...an experience I am trying to put into perspective by talking about it. So that's what I am...

She's going to be married? Is your son married?

No, Jerry is single.

And, they both live in Detroit?

In Detroit. Gail lives in Ann Arbor. Gail, Gail start in Michigan and ever since she graduated, she graduated two years ago, she lived in Ann Arbor all the time.

You have hopes for them for the future what kinds of things?

To grow up to be nice people. To do whatever they want to do, that's fine with me. As long as--I want them to grow up nice, happy people and I don't want 'em, of course, they have to go through the same experiences that I did. And I hoping that nobody has to.

I'll repeat this, you, you uh, walk with a cane, could you tell me...

Yes. Uh, as I said, I went, I went through the war, went through the Nazi horror almost unscathed. Uh, in 1959, I was crossing the street. I was getting into my car and I was hit by a drunk driver. And uh, I spent about three or four months in a hospital and I was lucky that I survived that. Well, of course, I paid a price a price for it. I, I lost a leg. But I did fine. I uh, I was living a life like I almost did before, almost, almost normal. Walking uh, with a cane an artificial leg, I resumed my almost normal activities. I used to go bowling and dancing and fishing and whatever else I did before. And then in 1976, I had a, a pain in my other leg. And uh, well I didn't--I just went--I went to the doctor. Anyway after, after the examination, the doctor discovered a tumor in my leg. Uh, I went to the hospital and the only cure the doctors knew was that you have to amputate the leg, because it' a--the leg was, the uh, tumor was malignant. And there's nothing else they knew about it. Well, it looked like luck was down on me again. And I just didn't know what to do, I didn't have much of a choice. But somehow by, by luck and by accident and through talking to other doctors we found out that there's a doctor by the name of Dr. Ralph Markov at the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Hospital in New York City who does all kinds of cryonic or bone transplants. He's the only one in the world that does it and there's a chance that he might be able to offer me something other than amputation. So, of course, we went to New York. And luckily I was one of his--the few patients that--he was doing something on an experimental basis. What he did for me is what, he, he removed my uh, diseased femur, my bone from the knee to my thigh and replaced it with a steel rod. And uh, I had to have surgery twice that way, but after lengthy uh, therapy at home and in the hospital and with the help of my lovely, lovely family, my wife and my children--my whole family. Uh, even my immediate family my other relatives helped me immensely. In fact I went out--my brother-in-law and sister-in-law went out to uh, Sloan-Kettering to New York to stay, to stay with me, help during the, during surgery to just be with me. I was able to, to get back to myself. And uh, after a long convalescence I was able to--although actually it wasn't that long because I went to work as soon after, soon after my therapy--I was able to resume an almost normal life. And again, although I have--well, you can see I have practically--I'm, I'm bionic. I was able to get back to the almost normal life and I, with the exception of, of my walking now. I don't walk quite as good as I walked before with only my artificial leg. I still do things that I--I have to curb doing a few things, of course, but I do almost things that I do before. I'm spending full time in my uh, work, in my business. And I take care of customers and of my work. And I go out with my friends and my relatives just almost as before. I just don't let that injury interfere with my life. And I hope to continue that way for a little while longer.

Thank you.

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