Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Joseph Rotbaum Ribo - July 5, 2005

Moving to England

You're thirteen now?

Yeah, that was in '45, yeah. Thirteen. Thirteen-and-a-half, maybe, thirteen-and-a-half. And I eh, went to England and there we were in hostels. And they get me in one hostel in Southampton and from there they divided everybody into different groups--into different towns and different hostels, wherever the Jewish community could--wanted or had already hostel, and eh, wanted to put a hostel. And from there, I was sent with a group to a hostel in North London. And eh, there again, we had some English lessons. And there was a Jewish community, we went to the shul, and we had a bar mitzvah--we had belated bar mitzvah, we had already there.

For you?

Yeah, because in the war, when I was thirteen, I couldn't...


...but there were--we had belated bar mitzvah. And eh, I was--after some time--after I could manage somehow with my English, I was eh, went to an English school there. But eh, I couldn't follow, 'cause for four or five years I didn't study, I didn't learn anything. And they were already uh, in ninth, tenth grade or something.

And there was no adult supervising you?


In North London.

Oh, yes, there was. There was the head of the hostel, and there were teachers. We got lessons, and, of course...

But no--you didn't live with a family or with a...

No, no, no. But that became later eh, later on. But eh, I couldn't follow the lessons there; I couldn't manage with the math, and eh, all that which I never studied. So about--after a half year or so, I was transferred to London--to a hostel in London. And there I went to a Jewish school, in London. And there I got additional lessons already to catch up with what I didn't have. Others also got this. And there I also integrated with the, with the studies, more or less. And eh, from the hostel--after some time, they eh, they um, some--many of us went to live with private families. Jewish families wanted, and they--it was to get out of the hostel, you know, to live a family, to know what is like in the family life. And eh, I went to live with one of those families. I think I managed to live one year--for a year there, and eh, then the state of Israel was established and...

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