Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Michael Weiss - October 7, 1994

Post-War Life

So you decided soon--very quickly to leave.

Yes, oh yes, I, I seen there is not--no--I, I--nothing, nothing. Because after the liberation I gave it a thought: I know a little bit Russian. And I might--I heard that over there you can go to school with no money or whatever and you know I have a notion and I go a little bit to school and I'll be able to make a little ??? When I got there and I seen--I could see the anti-Semitism, oh yes. Yes, I could feel it the sense of the place. ???

So where did you go from there?

From there I went to Budapest. And in Budapest I heard about there was a way to go to Palestine. But not everybody could you know it was the, the, the, the, the English didn't let people. And that's another story by itself. That's ??? They would let me into Palestine. Before I was, I was in Israel, I was in Ya'akov. There is an English prison. There are pictures of young boys who they hung uh, uh, you know, hung, hung, hung, and, and, and, and after the, the war they didn't let me. Before the war they didn't let me so they have, they have something really to account for. But to who or why or when, it's nothing, but I think really many people has some accounting to give. How. Why.

So from, from Budapest you didn't...

And then, and then, and then we came to Austria.

You were on your--you were planning to go to Palestine?


So you went to, what, where, Vienna?

Well, this was the thing. From Budapest they took us to Austria. And from Austria...

To Italy.

To Italy, yeah.

So you wound up in Italy.

I never was in Italy.

You didn't get there?

I didn't got to Italy. I was in Austria. And there my wife--well actually she's my second wife. My first wife passed away here sixteen years ago. And uh, she had an aunt here. And she put an ad in the paper in Austria that she didn't know where was her relatives or anything. But somebody from ??? who is married to a baker she know where. And she was a school teacher at home. She's looking and then a niece is looking for her. And somebody read the paper and called her. And she got in touch with her and that's how we come to...

When did you get married?

I got married in, in, in, in '46.

So all this took about a year.

Uh, to get here?

To...well, to go from...

Well in '45 we got liberated.

But then to go to Budapest and then to what, Vienna...

To Vienna I was in, in--I was in--I got married in Vienna. In Austria. Bad Gastein. I got married there.

So that was '46--in '46.


And, and your wife had a Detroit connection and so you went...

Yes, yes, yes.

What--Who was in West Virginia?

Uh, this aunt uh, is in West Virginia. Now she moved to Florida; she's still alive. And although I'm not a relative, but we call each other and we see each other. She said, "You'll be my nephew all my life till I live." She's over eighty. And we keep up, keep up our relationship. And, uh...

Um, you would have came to the United States relatively early then. 19...

We were here in '47.

That's one of the first...


Uh, and you came to Detroit right away?

No. We went to West Virg...

West Virginia.

To Fairmont, West Virginia.

How long were you there?

Two and a half years.

There a lot of Jews there?

Again a small community. About sixty families. And it was very interesting uh, I didn't speak English naturally. And uh, but they told me that they have ser...services Friday night. So I figured at least with the rabbi I'd be able to talk, I mean uh, over there we had a few older Jewish families who came from Europe. They could speak Yiddish but the youngsters couldn't, so I didn't have really people. So I go to shul there so the rabbi who speak Yiddish I never heard nothing like it. When he came in with that thing I thought he's a uh, uh, priest or something because by us a rabbi looked like that didn't look like what I show you. So that's that was, uh...

What did you do in West Virginia?

I, I went to a dry cleaner there, and I was pressing. Because I did learn a few months I was by a tailor. But in a few months we did not learn much. But I worked for dry cleaner there and, uh...

What made you decide to come to Detroit?

Okay, my wife she had eight in the family. One sister survived. So she, the HIAS brought her to Detroit. So we came to visit them. They wanted to be together. So there was a choice. Or she moves there or we move here. Over there it's a very small town. There is no, no opportunities for nothing, and things, so we decided to move.

You had children?

I have two boys.

From your first marriage?

Yes. One is a rabbi in the uh, uh, uh, Yeshiva Beth Yehuda. That's a religious school. And one is a lawyer uh, uh, in Detroit.

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