Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Jack Weinberger - February 6, 1983


Did you encounter any problems here in this country?

Well uh, from the beginning I did, I remember there was also when the Jewish organization helped me to get a job in the beginning. I always told them I'd like to be independent, I don't want to be always on the welfare, it's just like ???. So they always tried to send me different places, places. I remember the guy must have leads, one place I came in, I remember that, "where you from," it was my first bad experience in the United States. "Oh you must be German then , Mr. Weinberger." I says, "no I'm not German but uh, I was in Germany, but I'm Jewish." "Oh your Jewish, as a rule my company doesn't hire Jewish peo...here in the Uni--my company doesn't hire no Jewish people at all. It's policies, I'm sorry." That's all, that was my first one. This was very, very shocking to me, you know. I couldn't understand it, but uh, then I got used to it, it's not the first time. Had the Ku Klux Klan here, the Nazi party and, and once in awhile even when I work on the job you heard those kind of remarks, the Jewish are responsible, the Jews are responsible for the war in Vietnam. In, In, I mean in Lebanon and everything. And that's it.

Who else from your family survived the war?

No, nobody, nobody. I had--we were six brothers, all boys, no boy, no girls. Uh, we had one girl but she died before they took us in camp, she was only four months old. But uh, I was the oldest and some, all perished. My father died in January 1945, January or February, I don't know exactly the date. He was with me, we were all together. But my mother, never saw.

When you first came here did you ever talk about your experiences to anybody? Did anybody ever ask you questions?

No, to talk to another guy who was in Europe in the war it's just like uh, everyone--everybody had a different experience. Who was there knows it just like if somebody's in the war a soldier knows what a soldier's life is. So what, what do I talk about. And, uh...

Did American born people don't ever ask you questions?

Oh yeah, they asked me in the beginning what uh, it's if you don't see it, sometimes seeing is believing. If you can see those things sometimes you have to believe, even if you see it sometimes you don't believe it. Look, uh...

Do you have any feelings about how the American Jewish community reacted during the war, or just before, do you think they could've done more to...

Well during the war, I don't know nothing about it.


Yeah. But look, I was fifteen years old okay.


Europe uh, twenty year old, for example, what does he know what goes on in the world? I was fifteen, I didn't know nothing about it. I didn't know about Americans, I didn't know about the Jews. The only thing I remember, they talkin' many times older people, you know, my parents. That was before they took us away. They were looking forward that the Americans should open up the second front. Maybe uh, up the second front uh, maybe the war will come to uh, uh, faster conclusion. But otherwise, we don't know nothing about it. After the war, I would say the Americans made sure, nice uh, nice things. They helped us to go home, wherever you wanted to go. They, they set up kitchens, that's all. But at the same time uh, the Americans gave a lot of protection to, to the Nazis after the war, like after the war. See the Russians, for example, something like this happen they didn't give no protection. They said, said if you committed a crime you should pay for it. suffer, you should suffer, you know what I mean?


Which is, right?


So Russians didn't play around. They, they suffered a lot with the Russians. Like uh, for, in Ebensee, in Wolfsburg, in the first camp I was, there only Jewish people, only Jews. All kind a Jews, the Italian Jews, the Greeks, from Germany, from, from Hungary, from Poland. All different nationalities, all from different countries. But, in Ebensee we were already different nationalities, non-Jews too. We even had Germans there. We even had Germans, which uh, maybe was a criminal or maybe was a politician, I don't know, maybe knew something, didn't agree with policy, or who knows uh, all kind a people. Polish or not, from all the people, from all the nationalities, the lowest one was the Jews. They were kept the lowest. The worst jobs, the least food, the most punishment he got. The, the first victims, always.

Were you kept in separate barracks too? Uh ???.

Um, no, we were mixed all different kinds.

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