Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Sam Seltzer - November 29, 1982

Talking About Experiences

I have some other questions to ask you about when you first arrived here in this country.


Did you talk about your war experiences?

No, I could not. Until uh, twelve years ago my wife started writing this. She kept on asking me and I couldn't talk.

You didn't talk then.

No, I could not talk. I could not bring myself to talk about it. So, and until my wife said, "Well, what I want we write, I want to write something. I want the kids to know what you went through and everything." So finally I, I, I said, "Okay, let's sit down and you want well, we're going to do something you know, about it." And she you know, sharp, she was a, she, she took up journalism in school. In fact she, she's supposed to work for Hudsons as a journalist, but they found out she was Jewish so she--they kicked her out, practically...


Yeah. They wouldn't give her the job. They signed everything and every...everybody was happy until they, there was a questionnaire, it says what nationality are you. She said, Jewish, so they said, "Well, why don't you come tomorrow." Here they had already, everything done.

I know you said you have one son. Do you have other children besides the...?

Yeah, daughter.

A daughter and a son.

A son and a daughter, yeah.

Once you and your wife began to discuss your war experiences and, and started writing about them, did you then talk with both of your children about your experiences?

My daughter is very young, she's sixteen and a half. She's in high--Berkley High, you know. My, my son is twenty-three years old. He, he's good in English too. He's supposed to rewrite the whole thing.

Do they ask you questions about your experiences?

Um, well, not much. Not much. I must admit that, you know.

Now you said that you had a lot of trouble talking after you--when you first came to the United States. What are your feelings about discussing your experiences now?

Now I feel like I give out something from me. It's, it's a relief. That's why I like to go to the schools. I go to high schools and speak. Yeah, I sp...I spoke at a lot of high schools. And they all like, all like me. They all love me there. The boys you know, I tell, I tell 'em I was a professional soccer player. I was going for international soccer player. So they all stay around for about uh, ten or fifteen boys around me and they always ask me questions. And the nice thing is I have a medal for 'em. And they all love it. Because you see, what, what it is, not every Jew was a businessman. You see, that points out that, not every Jew was, was, was a businessman or, or whatever uh, uh, had business or, or uh, uh, salesman or whatever it is. There was people which went for sports. You know, there's Jewish people--that's why I like to bring out uh, the sports for the kids. And they all--oh, I have a kid here who played against uh, Oak Park and he was from Ferndale. He saw me with a cane, he came running over. He says, "Oh Mr. Seltzer," he says, you're here." He says, "I wish you can come and give us a few pointers and everything." I said, "No you guys are playing good. And you in particular," I said, "you were doing good." He says, "Oh thank you very much." He says, "I wish you can teach us some." And I, I, I had the best trainer, I had a trainer from Nuremberg, which he used to. If he couldn't come he called me, he told me, he says, Sam you take over. When we had the all-star. He said, "Sam you take over and tell 'em what to do." He says, "You know what to do." He says, "You make 'em run, make 'em do this, make 'em shoot, make 'em do this, everything." And I was uh, for a while I was you know, taking over for him. And I, the, very, I know every trick in the book from soccer. But I, just, just, my life, my life was wasted.

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