Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Rose Wagner - August 14, 2002

Immigration to America

So a...after the, after you came to the United States...

We came, we came to the United States to Memphis, Tennessee. See when we signed up, when we registered, they asked us where do you want to go. So we said, we didn't say anything. So they sent us to Memphis.


My son was born there and I, I didn't like it. And the Joint gave us a house. And it was a big house. First we had an apartment and a house. So we took in a border, a young man, a very handsome, good-looking man, a Holocaust survivor. And my husband was working. She said to us--to my husband, "You don't have to work. We'll give you money to live." But my husband said, "No, I want to work. I don't want the money from you. I want to work."

What was he doing?

He was doing everything. He was working by cars, he was working as a tailor. He's very handy. He can do anything. So when we--so we took in that border. He was and you know, they, they wanted him to get married but he was not interested. He was very normally--he was very quiet. And one day, I needed a stamp to send to my sister to Israel. So my husband said to me, "Why don't you go into Fitzler," his name was Fitzler "and ask him for a stamp." And he was in one of the rooms, you know. I knocked on the door, I heard no sound, nothing. I opened the door, he killed himself. He shot himself. And Lou was a--was maybe six months old. I started to scream. I didn't know what, what I was saying. I grabbed Lou and I run in the street. A car stopped and a man came in, now I remember and he saw what happened, he called the police. The police came, they took him out. And I called my husband then. And after two weeks we left Memphis, we came to Detroit, because we had friends here. I couldn't be there anymore. I didn't like it, I didn't like the climate there. He was very, he was--it was sad because he was a good-looking guy and he couldn't, he couldn't live. When I invited him for dinner, he wouldn't come.

Do you know anybody who contemplated suicide after the war?

No. It's enough. And I--the night before, I--we had gas on the floor, so we smelled the gas in his room. What he did, he opened the gas in his room. So we called the gas company and he said who was playing around with it. But we didn't know. And he wanted to sleep in that room and we didn't let him. So my husband helped him with the, with the bedding. And he said, "No, no I'm going to do it myself." He must have had the gun already with him. He must of you know, he had the gun. We were lucky he didn't kill us. But who knows you know, if you, if you kill yourself, you're not responsible.

No. Well...

It's a terrible thing. So we, we decided we had friends here and we came to Detroit.

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