Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Opas - [n.d.]

Staying in a Shelter House

Well, first day it was nice. In a free land. Going out. The family--we lived on, on Pingree--you know where Pingree is, near 12th Street?

Oh downtown.


Mm, Downtown.

...yeah, off of, off of ??? near...

Did the Jewish Family Service find this apartment for you?

Wasn't an apartment, it was, it was a shelter house. There were six families in that--it was a two-family house and there was already five families living there.

How many people altogether, including children?

Including children? Uh, oh on the first floor there were--huh, I don't recall it already. I think there were--children there were about six--no five. Five children and uh, and eight--five children and ten grown-ups. Fifteen people...


...in a two-family house. There were three bedrooms downstairs and three bedrooms upstairs and there was one kitchen for all of them. You can imagine it was a, it was a, it was a picnic.

Everyone was Jewish.


Everyone in the families was Jewish...

It was Jewish, all the new arrivals--all the--placed there from the Jewish Family Service.


They, they didn't have any apartments ready for us, so this was a shelter house. This was called a shelter house. And there were most of all for vagabonds or, or for, for those uh, single people who were, were on welfare. There was a lot of people sleeping there--single people too, besides it. In the basement there were single beds. But in, in the, in the apartments--in those bedrooms there was families. Each family had a one-bedroom. Very tiny, little, small bedroom. And uh, naturally there was no cribs.


The child had to sleep with us into the same bed. It was, it was a picnic, but we didn't stay long there, fortunately. Only six weeks...

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