Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Josef Slaim - February 7, 1982

Life in Germany

So you both met up again in Germany?

Yes, we ended up in German. As a matter of fact, in German just happened uh, that my wife was also concentration camp, you know. And I uh, it just happened that after a while we got know each other and I married her. I married my wife in the same place there in German uh, a placed called Tirschenreuth.

So you ma...you married her right there?

Right there.

How long, how long did you know her before uh, before you married?

I met her in Germany after the war. I uh, as a matter of fact, how I met her we used--I used to uh, carry a little business and uh, somehow I got involved in with her in one deal, you know, and we get to know each other, and uh, we start uh, dating you know and uh, after a uh, couple months, I don't know, five months or uh, four months, so we got engaged. Then uh, then uh, we made up. She had over there uh, her brother living, you know, a married man mit a wife. And uh, we got married. As a matter of fact, my first is uh, son got born there in this little city. And the funny things is about, I opened a factory in Germany after this. Me mit her brother together and it was uh, a very good factory. We produced clothing--working clothing. We hired about 100 people. Of course, the city hall was helping us. And anyway, we haven't got with what to start, you know. Just happened I went and I got to know the mayor of the city, by talking back and forth and I told him that we ??? this and this lines and we would like to do something. This was a small town that never had any factory. A job nobody could get there 'cause it was just uh, a little bit farmers and a couple uh, little uh, stores, like uh, groceries, just little stores, whatever, you know, and uh, nobody could find a job. So when I proposed this uh, to the mayor he told me, "Well, it's a good idea." I said, "I probably could, could hire uh, fifty to begin mit, about twenty people, but we could end up mit 100 people or more." Which we did. And that's why he helped me. He tried to find me a location, which builder build it for us--a special location. And there uh, creditors or credit--I mean there uh, make good for our credit. And we got credit and we could get the merchandise and we hired people, and I had over there about seventy sew machines--all, all kind types of sew machines. We had the whole shop running. We hired, we hired 110 people after a year.

Amazing! Where, where did you get the sewing machines?

See it's another story. It was a factory bombed and there was a closeout. And the mayor went mit us, and we bought it. Course we got couple new ones, but we couldn't get all new ones because they hadn't got. But we bought out a factory uh, bombed factory, you know. And we had a mechanic in which we took them in our shop, and he repaired, you know, he make from three, four machines--from one machine three machines whatever it is, you know, and uh, we had a nice going shop. We hired 210 peoples.

Uh, what kind of clothes were you making?

Working clothes.

And you were selling them to?

I couldn't sell to whom I wanted. There was uh, to this time was uh, a rations, you know, I had to sell--if somebody come from the city hall you had this uh, pass that you have to pick up, "I need 5,000 shirts," and I'd give it to you, you know. There was a ration, it was uh, coupons.



So who was, who was, who was...

I, I, I hadn't got a retail uh, business. I just sold the stores. In the stores--not to whom I wanted, but the store keeper he couldn't get the merchandise. To buy the merchandise he had to get the uh, the permission. He got uh, piece of paper or whatever it is.

I see and you were with wholesale, and you were selling wholesale and...


To, to what stores? Who had money back then and after the war?

Well, to the retailers. Where they got the money? There was money in Germany.

These were Americans or Germans?

Germans. German stores. As a matter of fact, when we left Germany, we sold--we took in two partners. And there was ??? from uh, Sweden. ??? uh, from ???. And uh, they paid us out, they took over the factory. They're still there and they're very--doing very good, the way I heard.

Are you in contact with them? Do you ever...

Not yet, but I had--once in a while, I had--I still got contact mit people there, you know, through letters, you know. And they told me they feel ??? that I left such a nice factory, good things...

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