Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Martin Shlanger - March 4, 1983

Immigration to America

At what point did you decide to uh, to leave Czechoslovakia? Were you under a physician's care in Czechoslovakia for your kidney condition?

Yes. Yes, I was under a physician's care as soon as I arrived back home in Czechoslovakia.

And it just kept getting worse until...

It was getting worse until November 1945. I had to be hospitalized with a condition which is called stricture. Narrowing of the passage.

At what point did you decide to leave?

Well, at first um, I had no interest in materialism at all. All I wanted was just a place to sleep and um, have enough to eat. I didn't need anything, yes. But later on, I became materialistic like everybody else. In uh, middle of uh, 1945, I established a uh, business, a hardware business. I didn't go back to school. I just didn't want to go back to school again. And um, in... I was running a hardware business until 1949 when it was nationalized. Then I decided to leave the country. I wrote to my uncle. He sent me the necessary papers and I came to this country.

Where did your uncle live?

In Kansas. Small town in Kansas.

Did you go to Kansas?

No, I did not.

Came here to Detroit?

Came here to Detroit. I had a cousin over here and my cousin didn't want I should go to a small town in Kansas.

So, you became an American citizen?

In nineteen... November 1954.

Five years after you... ?

Five years after, yes. Exactly five years after I arrived, I became a US citizen.

Have you ever gone back to Europe?

Yes, I did.

When did this happen?

Um, first time in '65. Second time in '71, '70 or '71.

In '65 did you go to Czechoslovakia?

Yes, I did. I still have my brother living in Czechoslovakia.

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