Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Eric Rosenow - August 5, 1982

Life in the United States

Um, I'm going to--as long as we're moving into talking...


...about liberation--you already started talking with me about that uh, I just have a few more questions...


...in that area. Um, I know about your decision to come here and to Detroit and how you wound up here...


Uh, when did you become a citizen, actually?

After five years. It was the first thing I applied for, citizen, right away. After five years, I made my citizenship.

Was that difficult?



No, not at all.

There, there was no prejudice at the time against people who had been in your circumstance come over?

By who?

Uh, by the United States government, by the bureaucracies that you had to deal with. Did they make it harder for you?

No, no, not at all, not at all. Don't forget that uh, I came over, I think I mentioned before, under the German quota.


There's no Jewish quota, America has no Jewish quota. America has a German quota and the German quota was not fulfilled. There were plenty German who didn't immigrated at that time to America, so it was pretty empty. And the Joint Distribution uh, Committee had so many, so many uh, uh, affidavits available for German Jews that we were filing under this quota. We were examined in Shanghai, if we were delinquent, if we were sick. If we were sick, we would have difficulties, yes. When the war was out, I felt pretty strong, but uh, the sprue--they called it uh, tropical sprue in, in, in, in China, here they call it non-tropical sprue.

So it was different from dysentery? Or was it the same thing?

It was, it just was the same thing, just about, yes. You couldn't uh, there was a time you couldn't uh, leave the toilet. You have to constantly to go. There's something I, I forgot to mention. You see, China, your blood--when you live a certain length of time in China, in a subtropical climate, your blood, it's getting thin, very thin. So, here when you're coming to a different country, it takes quite awhile to adjust yourself, climate-wise, I'm talking.

Have you made it all the way back to health because I know the things that you mentioned earlier are still...

No, no.

Would you mind talking about that?

Well, I'm low on calcium. I have difficulties many times of walking. My bones are very weak and brittled. I have to be very careful that I'm always--that I don't fall down, that would be it. And uh, I have to take uh, vitamin and calcium uh, medicine to uh, make my bones stronger. But uh, I'm still always--when uh, I go to a doctor--my doctor is Doctor Sandberg uh, Herschel Sandberg, and uh, he always say, "Eric you're low on calcium. You're on the borderline, you have to take more calcium." And uh, fifteen or eighteen years ago, I had a complete physical at the Ford hospital and they detected that I had a non-tropical sprue. I asked them if this has any connection with the tropical sprue. They couldn't give me a real answer for this because a non-tropical sprue about fifteen, eighteen years ago was a very rare case, they didn't know too much about this in this country. There was a doctor from uh, from uh, Argentina which sent me who was more familiar with this kind of disease so uh, he, he found out that's what it is.

You believe there is some connection?

I certainly believe there is uh, the connection with uh, tropical and non-tropical sprue. I, I believe so, yes, yes. I never had it in Germany.

Are you telling me that you aged maybe by about twenty years by being over there, having those experiences? The reason I ask is that you're describing things to me that apply to people where senility has set in...

Mm-hm, yes.

...not just emotional, mental senility but physical.

Yes, yes, oh I would say so, yes. Because this immigration from Germany to uh, to uh, thank you...


...to uh, China doesn't sit in your clothes. Definitely affects your body. It must affect your body because uh, climate-wise and food-wise.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn