Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Henry Dorfman - August 11 & 25, 1989

Visiting Father in Poland

In 1948, what made you decide to go back to Poland?

To go back, I wanted uh, first thing my father lived there.

Your father stayed when you went to...

Yeah, my father left in 1951, for Israel, from Poland.

And where was he living in Poland?

In Łódź, I told you, we opened two stores.

He stayed--so he stayed with the stores in Łódź.

Yes, he stayed with the stores. He didn't want to give 'em up. Listen, he wanted to improve his life. He, he says, "Let me live a little bit." Because everybody was talking how bad, how tough or how badly Israel is. He says, "I just suffered, I just came out, I'm..." you know, "why should I run there?" So he, so he had the three girl--the two girls, my, the twins, my twin sisters. I have twin sisters here in Detroit, Rena and Gina. They were born in Poland.

After the war.

After the war. When my father married their mother, I mean, because their mother was my mother.

Also, she was also your mother was a sur...was your stepmother was also a survivor?

Yes, she was together with my mother, in the same, same camp.

And she survived Treblinka.

Yeah. Not Treblinka. Mala was in Czestochowa.

Oh, with Mala.

With Mala, yes.

I see, I see.

She was with Mala ???. She, she--but she came from the same ghetto. They took Mala and had a whole bunch of girls.

I see.

They all went, you know, according to--ghetto, they took, before they took 'em on the trains, they took 'em, they took a bunch out to work. I wouldn't have been on the train if I wouldn't have come back for, I mean, I mean, for ??? you know.

So you decided to go back to visit your father and then you also...


...went to see Auschwitz.

Yes. Absolutely, yeah.

What was, what was Treblinka like in 1945?

I took, I took, I took my father, same, there was, I have. This, this is of Treblinka. This I have from 1948. Still the same thing. They didn't change, they didn't do anything. Same thing. This is from 1948.

Oh, the monument was already up?

Yep. Yep. [pause] They were building it, it wasn't, you know, but I took--this, that's the way it was, it was up. This was already up. They were working, you see bunches of people there behind it. Did you see it?

Yeah, those are workmen.

Yeah, it was a workman. Listen, there were more people probably then than the, I mean, than today. A lot more people.

When you went back and met with your father um, did, did dis...did you and your father then discuss what...

Oh sure.

...had happened?

Why not? We always discussed. I wanted him to come to Germany and go and, you know, I want to get him over there because in Germany it was a, a lot better life, you know, and this and that. But he didn't want to, he says, "I don't want to go to Germany. I, if I go, I'm gonna go to Israel. But I want to rest up over here for awhile." He was doing business. He was doing pretty well, very well. And, uh.

So how did you leave Topeka? Let's go back to Topeka.

Topeka, I just uh, I came here for, you, you know Larry Wayne?


Okay. Larry, Jack, Jack here wrote--we were together in Germany, they lived in a different city but we, we saw each other a lot, because they were first cousins. See, my wife and Larry and Jack, these are first cousins. Their fathers were brothers. They're not Wayne, they're Weintraubs


Like my wife is and Franka and all of them. So we were all together. They left as kids, you understand. And Larry was, because uh, Ruth and Jack were, were quite a bit younger. So Larry could go with them, like uh, what do you call uh, I can't come on the word. To protect them, you know, to be...


Guardian, that's the, that's the word. And this was in 1946, I think or '47.

I thought they came here in '46.

Forty-six. You know, so, that's why he, they came here and we knew they're here. See but I was in Topeka, Kansas when I came here. And then Mickey Milberg, I don't know if you know Mickey or not.

I know...

Another cousin.

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