Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Josef Slaim - February 7, 1982

Moving to Israel


...and, uh...

Tell me about you leaving. How did you come to United States?

Through mein uncle. As a matter of fact, funny things about this here. He wanted me to take over--he wanted to brought me over before the war. I refused it once. And I want to Israel. In Germany, I wasn't coming straight here. I was going to Israel. In Israel he give me again--he sent me the papers and he want me to have here. So I told him I got married and I got already two children, you know, but he still didn't care. He said uh, that he sent me papers. Going back and forth I asked friends what to do. I liked Israel. I didn't want to come to the United States. I didn't know anyone in United States, here I got already friends. But everybody said, "You're stupid. If you got the location, go ahead. If you don't like come back."

Where were you living in Israel at those times?


How did you get to um, how did you get to Israel? Wasn't there, wasn't there an embargo? You couldn't--wasn't there a blockade? Didn't the British stop you from going to, uh...

I went in '49.

I see. So already it was a state.

The state uh, begun in '48.

Okay. I, I see.

As a matter of fact mein other brother, was coming mit the uh, how do you call it? Mit the underground uh, bef...before the state was created in '47.


And he was uh, on the tug boats mit the, mit the uh, Cyprus.


Mit the ship mit the uh, English, uh...

The detention camps there, yes.

Yes. And uh, all of a sudden, I mean uh, and mein uncle start bothering me so I went and uh, then I got the letter from the uh, from the American consulate in Israel. And they told me, since there uh, chose that I got uh, refused already once to go and if I had refused this one, I will never be able to come. So I said, "I go, I am going!"

What were you doing in ??? at this time?

In ??? I bought uh, ???.

You had money from the factory in Germany, yes?

Yes, I sold--no, no, no. In ??? I had from the factory--we bought out half of the factory--we had to get help from the American Commandanteur. The German don't want to let us discontinue the uh, factory. We want to take out the whole factory and they don't let us. They said they no want it. So finally through the help of the American uh, American army--I mean, the uh, offices over there in the uh, headquarters there. They make uh, arrangements uh, so I took out uh, forty machines from the factory and they paid me out so much money. The people then bought out the rest. So we took over--we brought over forty machines to the uh, Israel. In Israel we wanted--we planned with my brother-in-law, alav hashalom, to build up another place uh, like this, but it was tough time I guess. And we couldn't get this help what we need.

It was tougher in Israel than it was in Germany?

Oh, of course, over there the city hall helped us a lot, you know, because there was more in their interest than my interest because they--I had 100 people which they never knew it to find a job.

What--why did you decide to leave Germany after you had a factory going?

We want to go. We, we, we was scary. We--as much the--they talk to us fine, but we still don't trust them.

And you wanted to go to Israel anyway?

We want to go to Israel anyway, because I was always ??? like in the beginning. So we came here to this country. This country, when I came was not too rosy either, in the, in the beginning.

It wasn't what?

Too rosy.

Too rosy?

Yes. I had a tough time, a very tough time.

You came right to Detroit, didn't you? Because of your uncle.

I came right to Detroit. Mein uncle and I got uh, very upset. A lot of things--it wasn't working like I thought it's gonna be.

Where's your brother now? Where's your brother at this time? He's in Israel, he's in Israel, yes?

He was in Israel, I brought him over.

He was. So both of you came over and you brought your wife.

No, no, no. I was coming myself, mit mein family. My--mit mein two children, then he come over.

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