Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Weiss - August 9, 1995

Post-War Life

Gan Eden meaning heaven?

In heaven uh, hum. And all the Kedosheem, the martyrs are in heaven. They are taken care of and there is such a thing as heaven. And today, I believe, I was there, I seen it. I can be witness to anybody, that there is a Gan Eden, a heaven. And this six million are taken care of and they are in the Gan Eden.

What happened after you were liberated, you got on a train, you went back to Kascony...

Yes, I went home...

And then what?

And at home, the anti-Semitism was just as big as we left it. Nobody even asked me, "Where are your parents? Where are your family? Where are the rest of the Jewish community? What happened to them?" I, I went to ask for bread to a neighbor. She did gave me a piece of bread, but that's all. She was cold. I, I... their children was in our home many, many times. We played together there. But, anti-Semitism was there. I thought they gonna to take me in; "You want a meal?" I wouldn't have eaten, I don't think whatever. Nobody had a nice word or an inquiring word; "What happened?" And then I seen there is nothing here, so I went to Budapest and ah, I wanted to go to Israel. From there we went Austria under the American occupation. We were there in DP camps and at that time, to Israel, naturally, it was not open. It was not that easy to go. And really, the English government even, they did not open the gates to Israel. Naturally, they would have opened it. During the war [pause] many had been saved. But after the war, after the war, after that what they seen, what they knew, what happened, this little remnants, this little survivors, with no father or mother or no means of existence. I got liberated, nobody cared. Nobody, no place, I hadn't seen anybody who would care about us. We didn't have nobody. We didn't have no means to exist. We had no home, we had nothing. And ah, yes, the United States of America, whom I love! We survivors are thankful for this country. We think this country is a wonderful country. We want to thank them. But we do want to ask though again, why the United States didn't open the gates for these survivors. Yeah, President Truman did open it after the war and we want to say thank you to that. But during the war there was a ship here, St. Louis, with survivors. They went to Cuba there, they went here, they were near Miami. They sent them back to Germany and very few survived from that. So we do have questions, we do have questions. And it's not mean questions. It's not we have questions to the government, we have questions to God, too. We do, we do. And not to be disrespectful. We are not disrespectful. The Jewish people as we say, they are the chosen people. We do would like, kind of...why?

Did you get to Israel?

No. No I didn't got to Israel. We had an aunt here. My wife did, who sent us paper in `48, to come to this country.

You got married in Austria?

I was married in Austria, yes.

Were you in Vienna at the time?

No, I was in Bad Gastein. Bad Gastein, that's a, that's a nice place and ah...yes, yes, I was married in `48 and then my wife was sick, she passed away.

The same year?

No, no, no, no, no, she passed away ah, in ah, ah, seventeen years ago. And then I remarried to another survivor. A wonderful lady.

So you came to Detroit from Bad Gastein?

From Bad Gastein I came to West Virginia. I had an aunt there who took us up. And she took us to West Virginia and we were there two and a half years. Then my wife's sister came here to Detroit, so you know, they wanted to be together and that's how come we winded up in Detroit.

Um, did you talk about this when you came to the United States?


Did you tell anybody your story?

No. No.

Why not?

I, I, I... that's ah, that's ah, that's ah...somehow, in front of the children I didn't wanted to talk. I didn't wanted to hurt them, they were young. And to people even, ah, I don't think we survivors, we did came together during the years, I don't think we talked about it that much as we do today. Today, survivors will come together, let that be on a happy occasion or not, we will end up talk about our parents, about the ghettos, about the camps, about the Germans, about the people. Somehow, again, Hitler didn't done that himself, peoples done it, the churches, yes, yes, yes, yes. If they would be a little bit, a little bit more passionate to people, to human beings. And there is in their Bible, you should not kill and this is more than killing. This was something, there is no word for it, we say Holocaust, there's no word for it, that this should happen to any people.

Your wife, did she know what had happened to you? You must have told your wife or maybe you didn't.

Well, we did talk with my wife because she was...

She was right...

she was in concentration camp too. They were eight brothers and two sisters left there. Eight brothers and two sisters, two sisters left, eight brothers. Sure, we talked here and there and over there and mostly, after a little talk we started to cry. And that's why, somehow, we started to cry right after, just a few minutes, and then we try not to talk about it for awhile and then it came up again and we did cry a lot.

And your children? How many children do you have?

I have two boys. One is a lawyer in the city and one is a Rabbi in the Yeshiva Beth Yehuda in the city.

Did they ever ask about grandparents?

Well, I tell you. I lived ah, in northwest Detroit. It was a gentile neighborhood, a very nice neighborhood. And my son came in once and he asked me, he seen that the grandparents are bringing presents on the birthdays of the children. He was there, he says, "my grandparents were all dead, they don't bring me presents." He could have been six or seven. That was the first time he asked me about the grandparents.

What did you say?

Well, I tried to tell him a little, but I didn't told him much. I didn't told him much. They died. And ah, in Europe yet, and your grandparents were wonderful people. If they would be here, they would bring you presents. They would love you. And but very little really, very little really. And today, today if I could say anything to my boys and maybe to the second generation of survivors, and to the third generation of survivors. "Zachor V'al Tishkach. Remember, you should never forget what happened". And ah, you should take part, you should join the survivor organization so it should never happen again. And we hope and pray to God that it never will.

I think that's a good place to stop. Thank you.

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn