Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Berek Rothenberg - May 20, 1984

Brother Joins Army

What occupation were you going to do uh, if the war hadn't come?

The, the war would not have come we were hoping to go to United States because my father had two brothers, and a sister, and I had a lot of cousins and uncles. Only the difficulty--way it was that uh, I had a brother what he went in the army in 1939.

In Poland?

In Poland. And uh, and he went in 1938, in 1937 we, we were writing letters to our relatives and my mother had a sister in Montreal, in Canada. We wrote letters and begged them how--maybe they can save him, maybe they can bring him over to United States. Or the quota was so used out to come to United States, it was very difficult what we had to go maybe through Cuba or maybe through, through different, other ways. Or direct from Poland was very hard. Or the time was so short--he was draft from the army, and he, he came out from the army. He, he didn't serve too long in the army because the war broked out and the war--the, the army didn't last too long either. So he went in, and I think he spent maybe about three months in the army and then, then he came home. And, and he couldn't make it to United States. He was a very handsome--we all were--not that you had to be a tailor or had to be a shoemaker--we could, we could do something. I mean, the thing is the immigration was so difficult, even after the war when I was liberated and I stayed in Italy. And I registered in the American embassy to come to United States and I had five affidavits from a cousin from New York and from relatives here. They sent me affidavits and they all guaranteed from my everything, and still when I came--went to Naples to the American consul to find out when can I come to United States they said the Polish quota is so used out, that who knows how long I have to wait. Or thanks to President Truman--what we celebrate today his honored birthday--thanks to President Truman he allowed the, the--I don't know, five hundred thousand displaced person to come to United States, I was from the first one to come to the United States from the displaced person 1949. If not President Truman we not allowed to displaced person I would have to stay and wait 'til today to come to United States. The Polish quota was used up. The best quotas was the Russian quota, the German quota. Now the German quota--those quotas was not used. So a lot of us after we got liberated we want to come to United States--they said they were born in Germany and they lived in Poland or they were born in Hungary and they lived in Poland or they were born in, in Russia and they lived in Poland. And this was--they were the first to come to United States.

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