Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Alice Lang Rosen - August 5, 1991

Life in New York

So what made you decide to come to Detroit?

Ok we--well we arrived in New York, finally decided to come to America, we had our papers. And it was my parents who were told we came stateless. You know, we had to become stateless to come to America and that we were told we could not bring too much--no, no furniture or anything like that. So uh, my father was told by someone, "When you come to America bring oil paintings and Persian rugs and diamonds. You know, bring diamonds and you can sell them and you get money and so on." Uh, he didn't know that in America when a young woman gets engaged she gets an engagement ring, I mean, you know, he was not told right. So came to America and we lived in New York and my sister Ruth had sublet an apartment for us in Manhattan and we were there for a few months. And, um, we were very unhappy because couldn't--my mother and father couldn't speak English and my mother would--the little bit that I could speak she was to send me to the store and buy the groceries because she wouldn't leave the house. And uh, we were very sad in New York, we didn't like it, it was too overpowering.

Where in New York?


Right in Manhattan?

I like Manhattan...

Husband: The clothes they had were ???

...and we, you know, we were not--we came on June 13th to New York, which was my fifteenth birthday. On my fifteenth birthday we arrived in New York City.

In '49?

In 1949. And, um, the clothes we had is what you would wear here in the fall or winter. We don't get the hot summers in Germany--the humidity like here. So my aunt took us--she bought us each a dress because we weren't dressed, you know, properly and everything. And so we stayed in that apartment and Ruth had, um, had a job. She worked in an, in an office and everything. And my, um, sisters fiancée and, and his parents were from Chicago so they went back to Chicago. My father tried to get a job in New York and he couldn't. I think, I think he got a job as an elevator uh, man, you know, in an old age home where his mother was because his mother at the time was still living because she came to America with her son, my father's brother. And I met, I met her--we met her again and--but we were very unhappy.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn