Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Kurt Stern - February 11, 2008

Going to Israel

Let me take you back just a second before we talk a little bit more about Winton. You went to London and you became an apprentice...

An apprentice pastry chef...

...pastry chef. How long did that go on?

Well, I uh, as I said I started with the Park Lane and I also went to evening school to learn French because in England the menus and everything--the language spoke of the kitchen was supposed to French, you know, high class menu. Um, my uncle was assistant pastry chef at the Park Lane. He left to open up a restaurant which I went also and then he sold the restaurant, I worked here and there in, as I said, in eight--'48 I decided I wanted to join--come to Israel and of course at that time it was not allowed to come from England to Israel so we went on a holiday to France. We had an address to go to in Paris and they brought us to Marseilles and I arrived here on the first of March, 1949. Took us--we were on the--think over a month on the way--more than a month. We waited three weeks in Marseilles for a boat and uh, when I arrived here it was uh, the war was over. They heard I was coming. You know there's the Mahal volunteers from abroad. Don't know if you've heard.

Yeah. And what motivated you to come...

To come?

...to Israel?

To Israel?

Was it your cousin?

My cousin Ruth. I mean I was not a Zionist at the time. I think I came also to join Ruth and uh, nineteen year old maybe for adventure but I became a Zionist when I arrived. No place like Israel, like home.

You said, "we came," did, did you come...

Ah, we came, we came--there were two others on the--???, an English Jew and um, also a girl--I don't remember her name.

How had you met...

And we...

...and how had you met them in England?

Well, the Jewish agency--it was all illegal that time in England. We were given an, as I said, address to go to in Paris to go to. In Paris they organized that train to Marseilles and uh, we were in a camp there with other dis...refugees that were coming. I mean, Israel was bringing in all the immigrants that they could from Europe. I mean, France and I think Italy were the only countries that uh, turned a blind eye, let's put it this way.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn