Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Miriam Troostwyk - May 28, 1998 and June 3, 1999

Work at Israeli Consulate

This is the Israeli Consulate ???...

So I went to the Israeli Consulate, but at...

But you didn't know Hebrew yet or did you know Hebrew?

No, only what I learn in uh, in school. But I didn't need it, because they had a secretary for the Consul, Lillie Abrahm uh, she came from Tel-Aviv over, with the Consul. But at that time when I started when I was seventeen, it was not yet the Consulate. It was 1948 that Israel got the Consulate...

??? yeah.

and had the state. And that was at the end of ...47 that I came there. So they called it the ??? from the uh, State of Israel.



Thank you.

And um, so I, I went there and I said, "Well, I, I 've seen your advertise--your uh, how you say uh, your advertisement in the um, things and I want to learn the whole thing in the office. I'm coming just from school and maybe you can, uh." so I wrote first a letter and then they invited me to come. So they talked to me and they said uh, they loved me and I felt it and they said, "Uh, you can come." I said, "But uh, I don't know anything." "Yeah, that is good, we will teach you." So I had to start with a whole file system, to--uh, had to um, that I can find it, everything back, so all the letters and everything and they said how I have to do it. And they looked every day how I did it and they talked it over with me so I knew how I make a file system, how, how is done. Then every day I had to uh, send a telegram to Tel-Aviv and to um, to the Mini...Ministry of Foreign Affairs or something--it wasn't that yet. I don't know how it was called at that moment. And it was a letter telegram. And it was in um, Hebrew, but they wrote it in normal letters, in um, letters like we--A, B, C...

Yeah, yeah.

but it was Hebrew. But--and I had to spell it on the telephone. So I had always to spell every day letter telegrams.

It--okay, so you would read--oh, it was already written in, in um, in...

Yeah, how do you say it?

in the European alphabet. I can't remember its...

Yeah. The--in the European alphabet, but it was Ivrít.

[laughs] Okay, did you understand enough Hebrew to, to, to--or did--or wasn't it necessary?

I--no. I...


I didn't know what was in that letter...


and that was fine for them.


So, so I had to spell the B from Bernard and the E from Abraham.


And so--and I did--well, when you do that for a half a year or a year, so I was very good at it. And the file system was good. Then they trained me to sit uh, in front of the locat.. um, I had to open it. And there came somebody and they said, "I want to immigrate to the United States." So I have to give them the form.


If they didn't understand it, I have to tell them and if they don't know how to fill it out, I had to help them and--to put the passport uh, photograph, they had to go and to...


uh, stand, yeah. Then I said to them, well--I asked for an in--I said, "Well, I nearly uh, finished my uh, uh school in Amersfoort and I'm writing letters and stenography, can't you teach me in that thing?" He said, "Well, we have two all-around secretaries here that do the English correspondence every day and I'm very sorry, but we can't teach you that." So I said, "What uh, what can you offer me, then? Because I don't want to do filing and telegrams..."

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