Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Opas - [n.d.]

Arriving in Detroit

It so happened I, I arrived at six o'clock in the morning and nobody is there. And this was July the 20th. Hot--I was suffocating because I wa...I wasn't used to that kind of, that kind of, of uh, climate. And we had winter because on the boat it was cold. The wind. So I had that--my winter coat on. I took it off naturally, but still, I had to carry it. And I had a--my, my little girl--my, my, my daughter was only, only one year old. We had to carry her. My wife was sick on the boat. And I was all perspiring--wet from, from top to bottom. And we were standing--walking around--nobody came to, to welcome us. Nobody came to look for us. And I got scared, you know. I cannot speak English. No money whatsoever. And, you know, in a trembling--it's a scary thing. I wasn't a youngster anymore, I was already thirty...thirty-five, thirty-six, or thirty-seven maybe--I can't remember. No, it was seven already. And people going back--going by me--hundreds of people there on the railroad. And everybody--from all the people they ask me. Of all the people they asked me questions. I don't know what they ask, I mean, time probably or about a, about a certain, a certain uh, uh, a certain departure, I don't know. "Oh my God," and I stared like a dumbbell. And I felt so embarrassed--so, so, so little, you know. I felt so lost. I'm a grown man and I'm lost. In a strange land, no language. And people come--from all the people they came to me to ask me--what I'm going to do. You know, I was in tears. And I didn't know what to do.

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