Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Eric Rosenow - August 5, 1982

Sharing Story

Um, after you got here, did you--to Detroit in particular, did you find that you talked a lot about your experiences in the ghetto with co-workers, people--friends here, people that you lived with?

For instance, with whom?


To whom?

To whom? Did you know people who came from the ghetto and also moved to Detroit?


Did you?

We have, we have a lot of people here. A lot of people died already. A lot of people--our friends, died.

Those that remained alive, when you got together socially, or what have you...

Oh, we getting together sometimes, even up to that date.

Did you talk about things or did you avoid them?

Well, there's nothing to avoid. We, we talk about the past sometimes, yes, and everybody has uh, a different experience but everybody is uh, happy that this is over; they could settle. [pause] After all the war is over, how many years? Thirty, thirty-five? Something like this? Forty-five, '55, '65, '75--no, it's more, 38 years, 37 years. Well, 37 years, when you uh, examine this situation, people who came to Shanghai like my, like my age, maybe younger other people, a lot of, a lot of years passed by. People got older. You know, they, they uh, coming back to the uh, reparation pay, I think this was the first thing what America put in power is that the German government has to pay reparations and I think they, they put it in law. Now of course the German government uh, up to that date they pay their German former citizens, Jews, who had to--who, who got to prove who had to leave Germany, they're paying all over the world, this reparation money. Of course, you must realize another 20 years from today, they wouldn't have to pay anything anymore because they all died out. So, so to speak that they, it's a good gesture from Germany not to cut it off.


We always were afraid that uh, one day the German government--if it turns a little sour in the government or what government will come to Germany they would say, "Well, we don't pay any reparations anymore." Uh, this would hurt a lot of Jewish people who really depend on this money. But so far they didn't do it, I think uh, they think uh, "Why should we do it? We skinning ourselves out anyway year by year, it's getting less and less," you know.

That's quite an insight.


Yeah. Uh, again these, these next questions are also personal and do the best that you can, you know, with your comfort with them. Um, you've told me about the physical problems that you're having as a result of your experiences. Do you find that even today, 37 years later, do you find that the past interferes with your life today--beyond the physical experiences--nightmares, attitude anything at all that bothers you today?

Not really.

How did you work that through? I'm sure you've had feelings about what happened to you.

Oh definitely, but through the years, I, I think I personally adjust myself uh, pretty good uh, to United States because I always made a good living and uh, I don't have time for this, I don't have time for this to...

You're very healthy.

I'm in, in this respect, yes, yes. Often, often I like to talk about the past, yes--conversation with, with other friends. And uh, when I go out, when I have luncheon appointment with clients and so far, um, sometimes they say, "You speak with an accent." So I say, "Well I speak probably with a Chinese accent." So they say, "Why?" I say, "I lived over 9 years in China." So it's very fascinating to those people whoever I come in contact, "You lived 9 years in China, tell me about it," so uh, very briefly, I, I uh, explain that I was uh, immigrated from Germany and so far and so far.

Are you more comfortable talking about your experiences with people that you're close to or with strangers, family, friends?

I don't mind to talk to even--to talk this over even to non-Jews. Even more so, they should know, they should know that not everything was rosy that time--that I had a very bad time. After the war, a pretty good time

I have a special reason for asking that particular question and uh, tell me if this applies to you or if it's very different. I know in my family it was forbidden to talk to my father about what he went through. My mother always came to me and said, "Don't ask your father," um, do you find yourself--do you protect your relatives?

No, no not at all, not at all.

So, you're open with...

Why, why was it in your family like this?


[interruption in interview]

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