Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Opas - [n.d.]

Assistance from Traveler's Aid

Yet finally I met, I met a lady from an organization, uh, no, this was Traveler's Aid. A Polish lady. I heard, I heard her calling names because she, she was helping those Polish families. So I figured, "Polish? I, I speak Polish." I went over to her and I, and I told her, I said, "I'm, I'm here. I'm a new arrival and I also need help. I'm a new arrival and I, I see you have a, a shield--a label, you, you said 'Travelers Aid,' maybe you can help me too." "What is your name?" And I told her, "Opas." "Oh!" She didn't think for a minute that I'm Jewish because Opas don't sound Yiddish. She felt I'm a Polack. She said, "Oh of course, of course we will help you, why not? Where, where are you? Why, why didn't you come with all the other people?" I said, "Well, I don't know. I was told that somebody will wait for us here and, and, and take care of us." So she had a, a sheet of all the passengers were supposed to arrive in Detroit. Naturally next to my name was Jewish, Jewish Family Services. "Oh, you're Jewish!" I said, "It's something wrong with..." In Polish she told me that, "You are a Jewish." I said to her, "Yes, I'm Jewish. Is something wrong with this?" "Oh no, you're better off." She said, "You're better off because your organization will, will help you much more than we can do. Our organization are not as, as well to do as the Jewish Organization. They will help you." And I said, "How can they help me if they are not here and I'm here lost. You see, I'm--the family--that little child and, and it's so hot and we are hungry and we, you know, I have no money." She said, "Well, you know what..." She found out through the telephone directory and she found out a telephone number. And she gave me a few--I think ten cents. She said, "They probably open nine o'clock. All offices are open nine o'clock, not sooner. Wait a few hours, and then nine o'clock give them a call. Call them up and tell, tell them you are here."

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