Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Harry Praw - June 30, 1982

Life in New Orleans II

You were still making fifty cents an hour?

I was making--I started off with fifty cents an hour that was two days after Labor Day. I worked sixty hours the first week. That was uh, they did me of course, they did me a favor. They had about--out of four hundred people they had about eight people working overtime. That was in the cutting department. So they thought the refugee they'd give him a break. So I worked for that about from Labor Day 'til about the end of the ye...October, November. The manager of the factory was a big Italian guy. This I'll never forget. One day on a Monday--we got paid on a Friday by check--on a Monday he comes over to me, put his arm on my shoulder. He must've been three times my size. He said, "Hey, I want to tell you something. Did you see the check?" I said, "Yup." He said, " Did you notice I gave you a nickel raise?" Otherwise instead of fifty cents, I got promoted to fifty-five cents an hour. Even at that time in '49 you couldn't live on that so the Jewish Federation paid my rent.


But I had family in New York. I had relatives. I had two aunts and of course, cousins living in the States from before the war. My father--may he rest in peace--he had two sisters here and a brother--a brother died before I came here. So, and then my wife had a sister that came a year before we did to the States and they settled in New York. So, naturally I wanted to see New York and we were longing for plain Yiddish. New Orleans was like a goy town.

Sure, southern.

We weren't used to that. If you wanted to be--first of all we didn't know anything other than kosher. To find a piece of kosher meat there was one place--a little Jewish supermarket. So the own...he was the supermarket, the butcher and the restaurant so the only time we had kosher meat was on a Sunday. But they treated us very good, they treated us very good in the South. The Southern Jews very good. We used to go every Friday night in the synagogues and they always talked what to do with the refugees, how to make them feel a little bit comfortable. But around Christmas time I wanted to go to New York so I got on a train and went to New York just like that. I left my wife and a baby in New Orleans...

Oh you had a...what, what year was your baby born?

My--I have a son that was born in Germany in '48.


Yeah, in Germany.


Sorry I missed it.

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