Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sam Seltzer - November 29, 1982

Immigration to America

Did you--both you and your brother decide to come to the United States at the same time?

No. We were going to Israel. While we were going to Israel, I was stopped. I couldn't do the uh, exit. The Haganah was taking people. We decided we were going to Israel. The Haganah had exercises to go through for people training before they come there, see? Jump over something and this--I couldn't do it. I couldn't walk a straight line. I still can't, see? I can't walk a straight line. I'm walking with a cane right now. I can't stand still. I can't keep my balance. I can't control my lower part of my feet, see? It comes from the spine. The doctor, Dr. Sugarman told me that it comes from the spine. "See your nerves," he says, "are damaged." So, it comes from the spine, so. I can't control my feet. So I'm walking with a cane wherever I go. I feel better this way because it--you--I used to suffer standing still, see? Now I got the cane, it's been like three--four years with the cane and I'm, I'm, I feel better this way. So, uh...

Did your brother go to Israel?

My brother went to France and he says he's going to wait for me. I was stopped because they found a lu...a, a spot on my lungs. And with a spot on my lungs I had to go through again in Germany to a special place where they called Goting. Goting was uh, uh, like, like here in Detroit uh, the uh, place for lungs and uh, by the expressway. Uh, they have a place where, where they x-ray you uh, for, for TB.


It was a closed TB. It was from, from the pneumonia or from typhoid, whatever this. It was a closed spot. So also was a German doctor there. I always got along with them good. I spoke very fluently German. And they always liked me. Asked me where I am from and I told 'em I'm from you know, the border, German border. "Oh, then you speak both languages." I said, "Yes, fluently." You know, so. And he said that it's a closed spot in your lungs. He says, "You had pneumonia before, or from typhoid, whatever. But it's, it's not bad. It's not open." See? So, my, my brother was already, we separated and my brother was in France. And I wanted to go to--I have two uncles here. One uncle died and the other uncle lives here, Uncle Bill lives here on Greenfield in that big apartment, where the elderly people live there. Bill Seltzer. So uh, I had Harry Seltzer. And uh, Actually I had, my first uh, visa was to New York. But the second visa--I, the, the, the first visa a guy from uh, CIA wouldn't let me through. He said I'm a communist. He let, he let all the uh, Ukrainians through, all the, all the SS through to this country, he told me I'm a Communist, okay. So I had to sit back again and try to get another visa. Finally until I went to, to the Jewish community.


Committee. And there was a, a lady which was taking care of that and she went up there and she made a stink about it. Say, "What are you talking about? This kid was in the camps and you call him a communist?" You know. So he--finally he, he let me pass. I remember, remember his name. Wagner was his name. So, here in front of me everybody is going pa...the Ukrainians are passing. All--whoever was a SS probably uh, uh, passed and then he won't--so finally they intervened and I got another visa and I got a visa to Chicago. So I went to Chicago.

Did your brother go with you?

No. My brother was in France waiting for me.

Stayed in France.

Yeah, stayed in France. So in meantime my brother had a big operation in France on his stomach. They had to cut out a lot of his stomach. So--and uh, I was here--well, I finally came to Chicago. From Chicago I came by bus, by Greyhound bus here.

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