Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Josef Slaim - February 7, 1982


This interview, with Josef Slaim, was held on February 7th, 1982 in his home in Southfield, Michigan. The interviewer is Arthur Kirsch.


I was born actually this little ort uh, the place was called Lipea. L-I-P-E-A. Was a little village near Czepiec, like I mention it. The next uh, big city to Czepiec was Czenstochow. Czenstochow was well known all over, like uh, you would say New York or Chicago. Czenstochow was in Poland--the big city. That's the city I was born--I mean uh, was close to the--mine uh, place where I was born.

What was your father's occupation?

Jewish. You mean--oh, Polish. I mean uh, close it.

[interruption in interview]

Oh, what do you want? It was business man. ??? was a business man.

He had his own store?

We had a store, and we was uh, actually--he was actually he was um, a big business man. He used to-- mit a forest, mit a pond in the forest--fish, but had a big farm.


No, not the little stuff.

It's like a supermarket almost.



A farmer.

Ah, a farmer, okay.

Big farm. Pond with some fish, you know, which we raised them. We had saw mill wheel. He, he dealed mit my grandfather and an uncle mit forest. But the main project was we had uh, farm--a big farm.

You lived on that farm?

Yes. I was born on that farm.

How man acres would you say?

This I cannot say, but it was very--we hired a lot of people. We might had eighty people working for us.

What uh, what was the size of your family?

The family? Well uh, we was uh, [pause] three brothers and my father remarried because my mother died so we got another brother, but ali...we had one sister, but alive we just three brothers now. Me and one brother from mein father's first marriage. And my--one brother is here from his second wife. As a matter of fact he's here right now. So we are alive three brothers. Everybody is no more alive.

Did you all live on the farm?

No. We moved--like I was growing up like a two, three years. We moved from the farm. We sold the farm, we moved to Czepiec. Why? Because mein uncle got killed on this farm.

How did your uncle get killed?

Can't explain you how. And I don't know how exactly, because I was too little to know and I never uh, had too much talking about...

Was it an accident?

No it was just uh, business uh, competition or whatever. And since then my mother got sick, and uh, my father didn't want more stay over there in the little village. We sold it. And we moved to the city, Czepiec. And in Czepiec we used to have a big house mit uh, quite a few tenants. And we had a bakery--a wholesale bakery and a little bakery. We had also quite a few people, and we make nice living there.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn