First draft by Melissa Kravetz, May 13, 2002
Melissa: I have edited the first half of the tape (side A on the cassette). There is a break between the first half (side A) and the second half of the tape (side B). This is all information about Nina's post-war life. There is some very interesting material from when Nina first arrived in New York on the second half of the tape. I have bolded this text. There is also a funny story about Nina getting really scared when she sees a mouse. This is right after she and Professor Marcuse talk about the story.
Text needs: minor editing (breaking into paragraphs); bookmarks than can be referred to by footnotes in Anna Williams' write-up of Nina's postwar life.
I came out from the stream and I, naturally I didnt have any transportation so I had to walk, and when I came to the city, the city was in very, very bad condition because it was after the strong founding. And the first thing that I had in mind, I just wanted to go see the place that we lived. And I was very distracted because so many buildings that I remember were not there anymore so it took me a couple, maybe a week or longer, until I was able to establish myself in a certain way to be able to find my way to find a place, and when I did find it, I went upstairs. I am not very sure if I saw Hanna before I was on the street. I dont remember what I told you about that or I just looked around. The building was still there. There was a little damage, but it was not too bad, and I saw her from downstairs or wherever it was and she did not recognize me. So I went over to her, and I said, I did recognize her, and I went over to her and I said, "dont you know you I am?" She said, "No, who are you?" So I told her and she says, "Oh my god, I can not believe it is you." And she took me upstairs to her apartment because after the war she lived in the same house, but not in the same apartment that we had. They gave her like one room and she was working for somebody so she was able to stay there. And she was very, very good to me and she was a poor woman, and she did not have too much, but whatever she had, she wanted to share with me and she did share with me. And she took off all my dirty clothes and to wash it and clean it. I wasnt use to something like that in such a long time that I just didnt believe it, that it really happens to me. And she fed me and she remembers even what kind of dishes were my favorite, and I dont know even know how she was able to get some of them and to prepare. And she really wanted me to stay with her, but I told her that, "I dont think I am going to stay in Lvov, unless I find somebody now." Now, my all important part, why I was trying so desperately to get to the city was because I was trying to find out if somebody survived. So, I went to, after that, I was going to each places where my sisters were living and I didnt find any news whatsoever. I did not find anything about my older sister, my brother, my middle sister, nothing. And I was offered a job even, no, I have to make some kind of, I was offered a job because I said to myself, the way I was looking at this situation, I realize that I can not, its not a question of a day or two, its a much longer situation in order for me to find something. So, I decided to think about that I have to something with myself. While I am in one place, I met a very distant relative on my fathers side, but they were in hiding all the time. They came from a small town, but they were in hiding, and somehow, I dont know, we started to talk to each other and they told me what happened to them, and I briefly told them about me. And she said, "you are like a relative to us," and I said, "Yes, I didnt know even that." She said, "Yes you are, very distant, but you are, and we dont want you to be on your own completely, so why dont you to stay with us?" So that was really nice because I was staying with a family. I didnt know them before at all. Then, I did not want to commit myself to work. Like I mentioned before, I got the offer for a job. Somehow, I met the person that he was my supervisor when I was working before, after, before the first time the Russians came in. I was with them from 1939-1941. I was working in his office, and I met him on the street and he recognized me, and he said "What are you doing with yourself now?" And I said, "I dont know, maybe I could find some job or something." And briefly I told him what happened to me, and a lot of things he knew, and he said, "Why dont you come back and work for me again for our office." I said, "Okay I will think about that." Then, I was offered another job. I was offered a job to work in Polish, it was not Poland at this time because the Russians were there, but they needed somebody in Polish radio. So, I was offered this job too, but I definitely didnt want to take it because I knew that I was not going to stay with them. And once I dont think I could do it again. So, I met somebody and that person, and they were dealing in the black market. So, in order to work with them, we had to go to a different city and get this merchandise and bring it over to Lvov, and that was really very, very, very difficult. And all the time because it wasnt exactly black market, or maybe it was I really dont know. He never told me exactly what was it, but you had to get this merchandise and bring it on the other side and try to sell it. My part was to go on the other side, to different city, and bring it to Lvov, and somebody else took it over and would sell it, and I would get a little commission from it whatever. I worked for maybe for half a year, and it was so difficult. It was so much traveling, and we didnt have any connection properly again, and each time we had to go on the cattle trains or whatever. So, finally it was too much for me, and by this time, I am already there almost half a year, and I dont find anything. I decided and I heard about it, that on the side of the Poland place, now I mean talking about this time of year, they have already set an organization who are helping these refugees to get some information if somebody survive and to get some possibilities to establish themselves. So, in my mind, I am already trying to decide that I do have to leave. I still was very heartbroken. And I thought, each time I was making the decision, I said to myself, my goodness, maybe its too early, maybe somebody will still come up, maybe I still should stay longer here, but finally I decided that wouldnt work. I do have to go on the Polish side. And it was very difficult because this time you had to have the very good, its like everything because they were always working for certain amount of quarters. So, lets say if I registered, and before my registration, the portable spoke out, I had to wait maybe another couple months. So, I decided I am going to register myself. Most probably, I wouldnt get the permission right away. And while I registered, I decided to go with a little group of people because other people were looking the same to do now. And finally, I did get the permission, and one person from the group couldnt get the permission, thats another story. So, she was asking me I should help her to do it, and somehow we did work it out for her, I did try to work it out for her too, and we got the permission and we went on the Polish side. When I came on the Polish side, a lot of apartments they offered us a big apartment because a lot of Germans ran away. They were afraid to stay there and they offered me an apartment, a big one, beautiful, with everything there and the lady there, the German lady was still there too. And she said I shouldnt worry about this thing because whatever she had she would share with me because I didnt have absolutely nothing. Whatever she would share with me, and she tried to be very, very accommodating. And I was trying to be civil, but somehow, I just didnt trust her too much, but she was very good to me. She offered me some of her clothes. She offered me whatever she had to eat. I dont know how she got it yet from before, some things. So, anyway, but one day I came, she disappeared, and it happened at a lot of places like that, that they just left everything because they were just not sure how the Polish would treat them, how the whoever, the war was not completely, it was finished in a way and it wasnt finished. The German people who had left, who use to live there before, from before, they use to call them . So, they didnt trust any more Polish people, and they decided to run away. And I think I mentioned previously, I met my future husband, and for almost a whole year we met and by a few weeks, we knew, a few weeks, or maybe less, we knew and then he had to go to Russian army. And I wanted so much to go with him. I hope I am not repeating myself. And he said, "No its impossible. He can not take me with him." And so I got angry, and I said, "Look, theyre Russian Jews in the army. Why couldnt you try?" "Because I was called, but you were not called, and I just cannot do anything about that. So I said, "if you can not do it, I wont." He came to say goodbye, and I didnt even say good-bye, but he did say to me, "If I survive and you survive, somehow I will find you." And he did look because he came back and told this person that he was thinking he might find me. And one night, I was in this apartment with these people, I have no idea until today, I never knew it, he never wanted to tell me because he was a little angry that I didnt stay and wait in the city because he was from the same city that I was. So, I opened the door and here he was. And it was a wonderful, wonderful feeling. And we were not together for a while because he had some things he had to accomplish. He didnt want to stay at the army much longer. And as I started to tell you this time, just before, this is maybe a year after the war, or maybe not, maybe its shorter time, and the when the refugees are started to come into the cities, so the people, the Polish people from the Polish or Ukrainian people, start to think about that these people are dangerous to us because they will ask for all these things that they left in their homes or whatever. So, they were easy things to get rid of them, easy way to kill them. So, just one evening, it was not far from the place, oh this time I am already in Catovitza, Catovitza, so Catovitza [Kattowice] is not too far from there, 180 people were killed [reference to Kielce massacre of August 1946, in which . And I dont know, I didnt even know, I still didnt have a radio at the time or nothing like that, and naturally no television, so I didnt know, but my husband found out this time. He is not yet my husband. So, but anyway and he came to me, lets see we are like a week since he came back to find me, and he said, "I am not going to stay here. I did not survive the war and survive Hitler now to be killed by the Polish people or Ukrainian." On this part they were mostly Polish, so he said, "Im leaving and as soon as possible." And were getting married, and so I said, "No, I cannot here because I have to work it out, maybe I do, I register in this organization or in the other organization. I have to wait for an answer." He said, "Okay, now its your choice. Are you coming with me or am I going by myself?" I didnt like to say yes, I decided okay I am coming with you. So, he said we have to get married. And if I tell you how we got married, its a joke. Yesterday he decided, next day he came and he said, "According the Jewish religion, you have to have ten people, ten witnesses." Where do we find these people? I do remember it was Sunday, so he went on the street and he said to the people that he met, strangers completely strangers, "I need ten people to be witness to my getting married," and they were thinking that hes crazy. They couldnt understand because it was Sunday and the organizations were closed. Also on Sunday, they didnt work, and so its nobody there that he couldnt just look for Jewish people, person, so this is the way we got married. And the same evening, he had already planned a group. We decided to leave. He made the arrangement and we decided to leave. Naturally, we left almost with nothing, and we left Greek survivors or Greek people. We couldnt speak to each other because we didnt know the language, so it was very difficult because the most important part was to go through the Polish border because there, they were watching us and we did something or we had a little bit something that the Unrat gave us a little document the Holocaust, but nothing was said that we were Jewish, no Jewish. It was nothing specified so that was good. This is as much I remember. And we were supposed to, I wanted very much to go to Palestine, and this was our plan. I mean they took, by this time we talk already all, more little in details and my husband, I dont know how he got some place and how we would have to go through because we couldnt go legally. We had to because we didnt have any papers. We couldnt go no place legally. We just went on our own. And the trip was just another story. We were like twelve people, not a very big group because we couldnt manage with a big group, and on the way, again we were hungry and dirty and walking through forests and some of us being able to get on wagon. Some people saw us and they saw that we didnt look too good, but they were nice to us, and they said they would give us a piece of break or something and something some water. And this is two, maybe two weeks. Finally, we were already away from Poland. This to our benefit. At least we were able to talk, ya know, in the a lot of people I think we were already close to And this time we got on a train and we were really not sure where the train was taking us, but luckily it took us this time, we had to change a couple times, but finally it came to Vienna. And this took us maybe months or maybe even longer. I really dont remember exactly how much, quite a long time. Vienna looked bad too. Its a beautiful city, but it was bombed and destroyed and another thing, there was a terrible hunger. Just people were starving. Naturally, the other people were starving. We were starving too, but one thing we did find a nice apartment because again, a lot of people never came back to their own places. So we did get an apartment, and I assume so that it was an apartment of somebody who was killed during the war. The family ran away or whatever happened. We didnt know. The apartment was empty. Everything, the furniture staying there, everything all So, we decided to stay there for a while, and we registered in certain organizations. And we managed to get aquaintened with German family, Ausler family, and they had, it was a little bit away from the city. We had to walk there because my husband and another man, they walk around the city a lot and they trying to make some connection or to find something to eat or get some information. And they spoke very good German too, so that was very helpful. And this family had lot of potatoes. Who saw potatoes for such a long time, so they invited us for a potato dinner. Gosh, this tasted good. I cannot even tell you how good it was tasting. They were very nice, and they said every time youre hungry come here. The other apartment was quite a long way to go. And we are staying in Vienna for like 3 weeks. And we dont starve exactly, but we dont have too much to eat. And somebody from the group got some beautiful shoes, beautiful stuff. I dont know how she got it, so that is sort of the black market. So for this pair of shoes, some other things, they got a box of sardines. That was already a holiday. And some other people had little things, ya know, so whatever they had everything whatever they had was exchanged for food if you can get it. And after a few weeks when we again came to this organization, they told us that its not a good place for us to stay. We should go to Salsburg. They are going to make a special place for DP, from now on they call us DP persons, displaced persons, and it will be a little bit easier. Really, we dont want to go because our intention not to stay in Ausler, not to stay in Vienna. We wanted to go further and go away, maybe to Switzerland. We didnt know exactly how we would be able to manage, but to get to Palestine, but somehow someway things were getting really bad in Vienna. And they said, ya know, we have to make, ya know the group of the people, we have to make some plans how we will survive, how we are to continue. And then they told us, we have nothing here but this little apartment, the 12 people, so we had to look for something else. Maybe the conditions will be better, and they said a lot of people, a lot of refugees are coming now, so we overwhelmed with what to do with them, and the smaller places, they all gonna, its not so bad there, so maybe it will be better for you. So we took a chance, and they provided for us transportation and they took us to Salsburg. And it wasnt, we dont have an apartment, we dont have, we do have a little apartment. No, first they put us a big, big stable or something, and they put us on a floor with not mats or nothing and they gave us some blankets. There is already like a big kitchen and they cook like soup and give us coffee and piece of bread in the morning. So it was food arrangement was a little bit better because we didnt have to worry about it. That was already a little bit provided for us. It was very simple in the beginning. Later on it was a little bit better, but this time it was very simple, but compared with Vienna, we ate, we had piece of bread and gave us bread for later on and we had already soup, hot soup, and thick one, not just water and potatoes, good soup, so we were not hungry. But we came to the apartment or something, that was bad because we didnt have anything. But that didnt take to long and that was changed and change was better because then they put us in a different place where they had already beds like the kids have now, bunk beds, ya know, one two and three, no two, only two, and each husband and wife and one were like four couples. But each one had only the bed and almost nothing else because we didnt cook. We didnt have any stove, nothing like that. So, at least it was better that sleeping in the stable, and besides this these places some diseases, ya know, start to come up to, and that was very dangerous. And unfortunately, we are married maybe one month this time, and we have, we were on top. My husband comes into me and asks me some questions and I just hardly can answer him. I just dont feel good. Anyway, and like I mentioned, the diseases started to come out, and so when they are afraid, maybe I have some contagious disease. So, he finds in them and they say she can not stay here, the rest of the group, I mean the people because then this time we are quite a lot more. Our group is only 12, but the other ones, the people were coming all the time, so its a big, big group by this time and because they didnt know what kind of disease I had, and we dont have any doctor and we dont have anything. So, they have to take me out on this place and put me on a hill out of the way until they will get some doctor or somebody. And my husband is fighting with them. He doesnt want to. He says this is not, oh he got so angry that you youre acting already like Hitler and so on. He says no but this is for safety that we have to do it. Anyway, they had to take me out. I dont think maybe I should make it so long. I have the details. And he said Im delirious. I have a very high temperature. I dont know exactly whats going on, but he, this I found out later because the friends told me, he just does not leave me for a moment. He said he doesnt come back even for or nothing like that. He just stays with me. And finally, they said they dont know how, he went to the city, and he got some kind of information how to get to the hospital. He says shes dying already. She doesnt know whats going on. I have to get her to the hospital. I had no idea whats going on. Anyway, I find myself in the hospital. And they discover, and this time already my whole body is full of this red pimples, but I still run very high temperature. Im already, more or less, I understand where I am, that I am in hospital, but whats going on too much, I dont know. And I very, very, then I started to realize what happened to me. So, the nurses are very good. The doctors are very good too, the lady doctor. And later on, I found out too that my poor husband, this time he was almost starving because by this time, he gave already some packages, and when they were eating the soup and bread, ya know, eventually they were stopping the soup, he wasnt there because he was in the hospital and other places. So, and there are no stores to buy anything. He doesnt have any money because the packages he gives double portion because he gets for me and for him. So, he doesnt touch it. Everything goes to the nurses and the doctor. They should take good care of me, and they really did. But unfortunately, when I am feeling a little bit better already, theres sometimes, I am only the grown up person with scarlet fever this time. But a lot of kids, little babies too, I ask for bringing little babies to me because I shouldnt feel so lonely because nobody was there, nobody was supposed to be. I was staying completely separate from my husband. He use to come and sneak in. And I had complications, and I get worse under my arm, first under one arm and this started from the infection supposedly, but it did not, so they had to. One wasnt so bad, the other one was very, very bad. I couldnt even,ouldn'to come and sneak in.t it was so swollen that I couldnt, this I remember, I couldnt even, I have to, my hand has to be all the time up because I just couldnt bring it any closer to me. So, they had to operate. And by the operation, that I dont know anything by this time. Im in the hospital like two months. Finally, I am going home. Now we have already apartment with each husband and wife get their room. We have one kitchen, one bathroom, but rooms are already each one. So, its like four rooms so it was good to be staying with our friends and we have our own room too. And he took me home, brought me home, and after several days, I woke up during the night again g the night againg s supposed with a very, very high fever, and again, he knew already his way to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. They had to open again, and what happens, tiny, tiny little was left there, and this is why it couldnt heal, and this is why I got such terrible pains and start all over again, again surgery, again staying in hospital. That was our honeymoon, all the time in the hospital. And again maybe after 6 weeks or 8 weeks, he took me home. Then I am all the time sick and weak and we dont have any bedding and nothing. But somehow, I dont know where because when I had such a terrible pain and I couldnt bring my hand any closer, I needed something and he went to the hospital and he beg them for a pillow. They should long to have a little pillow that I should be able to rest my hand, and he brought me a pillow that was, oh, what kind of achievement, ya know, and it was easy for me too, much easier. And he, its hard, its very, very hard because all these people who are in this place with me, they make already some connections with people in the city. Some people are trying to make like he was a mechanic or he was doing something else, trying to make a little bit of money on their own. My husband had tied hands. He knows that he could do something, but he cannot do anything because he is always busy with me. So, he decided, somebody said that, oh and in the meantime, the news that one distant relative is going to be, is in Poland. And when were leaving, and I didnt know he wanted to go because I said maybe somebody will still survive, he promised me that if you find somebody he will come and bring them to me and he did. He did go back to Poland. He got with these people, but these people were not very willing to go right away, but so it took a little bit longer than we expected because when he was leaving, that was another reason to, because they said that by this time, maybe we can get something from that. It was in a very state, but they start to talk about that. Maybe we can get something from what we left, some compensation. So he said thats a good time to do it something so you say. I didnt like it, you see hes doing it for me, so how could I say no. Okay, so as I mentioned before, it took a little than we expected, and this time he went already legally because we couldnt get legally married yet because I was sick this time, but we got already papers, documents, that I am his wife and that was arranged. Later on, we had more officially done when I felt a little bit better. So, he went and it took like a month, and I was feeling much better, I was getting back to my stand and I was just waiting for him, and hopefully it was happy because right now he was getting more healthy, looking a little bit better because they gave us some cold stew. Supposedly looking more like a human being, but unfortunately it wasnt like that the way I planned. He came, and that I remember to the day. It was on Saturday, and I just couldnt get up from bed, and when he came, I saw him and did not see him, and he walks over to me to greet me, and he says, "Whats wrong, arent you happy that I am back?" I said, I dont know, I just couldnt answer. He said, "You sick again." I said, "I guess I am." Im thinking so, I dont know even what I was thinking again. To the hospital, we are told to the same place, and this time, he gets a doctor to come to the place, to our place, and this doctor tests me and everything what I see its double, and I remember they took two bottles, one bottle, and they ask a question. Im ready, I was ready. They gave me some injections and I was able to answer. They had already some things and they ask me, "How many bottles you see?" And I said, "I see two, three." I wasnt sure how many. It was only one. "How many faces you see?" I said, "Oh, its so many people here." One or two people. Something was going on. She has to go to the hospital right away. And anyway, I got this was bad too. So, they put me flat, that I remember already too. I had to lay on my stomach for six weeks and they were draining puss from my back someplace. And then they were going, they were afraid that I might have tumor in my head too, so they were making some experiments, not experiments, they were trying to do something. So, I was very, very sick this time because this time I was very sick with scarlet fever, but somehow when I saw the doctor and every time she said, "Look, this is something that will go away. Your skin will get clear." Everything was wrong. This, they were not sure how much complication can come up from it. So, but finally they send me home. I had to bandage all my head because they were doing something and it was not supposed to be exposed to the air. And my husband was very, very good to me. He really tries everything and I try not to complain because I dont want to feel bad with me being always sick. And this time, I found out, we find out that the Junrat organization are working very hard to transport because they dont want to keep this, the DP camp people. They dont keep for as long as they want to stay or have to stay. They will only keep them as long as they have to stay, but what the idea is, they try to make connection with organization, with Jewish organization, with families, like people had families in America and Canada and America and Australia. They should try to write to them and find out if they are willing to bring them over and so on. And I wrote to some of my relatives in New York. And they knew us, they knew me, and they knew my family very well. That was my mothers sister. My mother was the youngest one. She was next. They were three daughters and one son, so she was the middle. My aunt was the middle one, but they, in 1937, they came to Poland to visit because these sister were very close, and they stayed until 1938. And so I was already this time as a baby, and just a year before the war, they left back to America. And I wondered very much, I always said to my aunt, "Please take me with you." I wanted to go. I wanted to go. So, and they were willing to take me, but my mother and my parents did not want to because I was their only youngest one, so I was the only one with them this time. My both sisters were married. And one time, they got even into argument and I overhead this and they said, "If she wanted to go so much, why wouldnt you let her go. We are not going to keep her." They had three daughters to. My mother had three daughters and my aunt had three daughters. And we had, just it will be good for her if she wanted to go so much, and so they said no and my mother got angry and she said, "Are you going to take my baby away from here?" No. No, no, no. She was sorry after because it was too late and she said Ill tell you something the school because they were still gong to school, the school year is going on, so we will wait for her, and just for vacation, she should go. So, they left. So, when I wrote to them, they knew very well who I am, and they send me papers, just for me, so I have to send the papers back. Also my husband said, "Go, go." I said, "No, I am not going without you. If we go, always stay together here or we go together, either way, I am not going." So, we had to send the papers back, and after a year, we got again the papers, and this time already the organization was working and my family was working and we got papers to leave in America. And I wasnt very happy about that because my aim was to go to Israel, not to America, but my husband said, "Ya know, this is Lets go. You will always be able to go to Palestine," because this time it was Palestine, "and lets see." He was very eager to go. He really wanted to go. So, I said to him, "Youre so wonderful to me." And just to make him happy, I said to myself, okay well go. So, first we had to go, forgot the name of the city, not Munich, I forgot the name of the city. Anyway we had to, first we went to, oh gosh I forgot. its um, Munich. And this time, I still, my head is all bandaged up, ya know, because they still didnt let me expose it to the air. And they gave me some medication
I know whats going on and the doctor said went to the doctor he said yes if she want to go she will be strong enough and we will tell you what to do and she can go so we went to Munich first and there we were staying this is already all arranged so we dont have to provide for anything the trip is already for us because we have already proper documents all the papers all legally arranged so they put us in places like we have to stay in Munich for couple days like a week or two and they saw that I was under doctors care and so they were nice about that too and they said that some problems because they were good in this respect because if I would not accept this if he wouldnt go at this time and my hour going away we wouldnt go in this time we were supposed to then its another so this time when we decided to go it was good regardless but difficulties we might have to go and that we did naturally everything because my husband knew how to handle these things and from Munich we went to Bremen to the port and from Bremen we got 0on a ship what a ship the name of the ship was Madeline something I still should have some papers and the ship its very, very old ship military type of ship mostly everybody is sick we are again because they gave us separate cabins because its such a separation ya know like the military people have it ya know and first my husband was sick and that was ok and then he got better and then I got sick the food was very bad maybe it was not bad but it was bad for us because we just couldnt keep the food in I remember cooking us sardines and they claimed it was good it was good and the trip took almost like a month and it seems like forever so he trying to feed me hes trying to bring something because I just cannot even move unless I have to go so he said I look at food I get sick I cannot I cannot I cannot so but when the minute we got off the ship I was fine really unbelievable that I really that help something whatever it was still going on in my system and so the other sickens just left me completely but this one was already naturally we knew already that when we come off the boat it will be ok we didnt know because it was the first time in my life that I was on the boat and this type of boat we use to go on sail boats ya know in Poland but not on this and we came to America even because you have to register in all this and our aunt was waiting for us she was alone she had the car already I mean she didnt drive but she had the driver and she had already some other people in her place form the family and she felt very bad about that because she really wanted me she really liked me very much and I really liked her very much she wanted to do something natural for me than for the other people especially when she saw me she just crying crying crying and she says ya know god was good to me that you survived because my conscious would bother me forever if I knew that you did not survive because you wanted so much to go and who knows if you were go and the meantime the war broke out you would never get the chance to go back to Poland and several times she mentioned ya know and then she has to do something she didnt know too much I shouldnt blame her its nothing like anyone somebody recommended me this and this hotel because it was impossible to get a place in New York city unless somebody took their relatives to their own place and she had already and so she took this hotel was something first it was on 70 some street the room was very, very dark not clean looking and my husband went out because he wanted me to rest he wanted me to oh she brought us over to this hotel and she left and the next day so we slept and they brought us something to eat and this and we were very tired from the trip and from the sickness she sick all the time and a couple days later he said, now I think you are feeling a little better, I am going to look around whats going on and he left and Im just tired so very tired I feel ok already but Im still tired so we see something I am curious so I open the little drawer when I open the drawer you wouldnt believe it the mice that run out form this place and I had an incident when I was working in the post office may I come back to this story
Marcuse: Yeah I know that story. Its a really good story.
NM: Do you know the story?
Marcuse: Yeah you told me once at my house.
I was working and we have to accumulate because the most of them letters sometimes packages that we officer my family from Germany and they were not this type so we had to deliver these things to them so we had to like a big, big storage big, big closet and the closet was the step of the door that rose up and rose down and I use to put up all these things here I use to mark it down the minute they came in and they told me that as they are because sometimes maybe something similar so I was very careful and we had to carry around in a proper way one day there was some kind of he comes to pick up a letter oh I gave him a letter and he said I got the letter where is my package I said um ok let me look it up and because it was a big, big closet an some packages wee for months even longer and some never came back because some were killed or injured or something like that so I said okay I will take of it but right now I have to go the post office because I have certain hours that I have to do this and when I came back the first thing I will take care of all if you dont mind first thing I will come and take care of it he said no its ok I trust say I definitely will do it if the package is here it is yours you will get it because I had to go to the post office and was a lot of mix up I had to set up and things so then I came home but we did not have very good light in there so I said to myself and I have to look over the names so I said I better wait until tomorrow morning and I will do it ok they come into the office and I start to do it I have my key out and I roll the god in heaven you wouldnt believe the mice run around me ya know they are trying to escape I was screaming I was yelling and nobody knew first thing because when I screamed and nobody knew what happened and I was so hysterical that I almost and from then on when I saw a mice I just could scream up and they said what happened because they didnt see the mice anymore and everybody came in and they didnt see anything and here I just scream and shiver and scream and cant talk I just scream so finally they start to shake me what happened why are you screaming what here is going on Finally, I was able to tell them and naturally the package some package for some food from like a mother or wife or whoever bake and send it to them or something and like I said before for a long time it was there and one mice came and had a good time and after another she invited somebody else and so on and so on that who knows how many they were but they just run over me so when I cam out of the now I am back in New York and this mice I am on top of the bed I am screaming the whole hotel was with me and I was so afraid and whoever came in I said please dont go out please dont go out just dont leave me alone in the room but these people had to go out with whatever they had to do but next door yea I think its next door a young friend came up and said dont worry I am going to stay with you and I am just gonna stay with you just come down I am staying on the bed I was afraid to go down and he gave me his hand and he said please come down they are not here anymore come down I said no no no I was thinking I am not coming down until my husband comes back I had a hard time and he says I am gonna wait here until your husband comes in and he says a funny thing I am staying because I was so afraid and shivering and my husband comes in and he sees a strange man and me standing on the bed and shivering and he wants to know what he did to me so he says what happened and I cannot talk so he explains what happened and why he really feel so sorry for me because I just didnt want to go down and so my husband says he was kind and I said lets get out of here I didnt want to stay here I was so afraid I wouldnt let my husband get away from me for a moment ya know and when he says I am going out I said no you wait for me I am going with you wherever you go he said I have to go to the bathroom are you going with me to the bathroom yes, I am going with you I was so afraid and we have to stay in this place almost for months because it was payed for months it was agony it was agony but luckily I found a job so I said now you are free because I am going to work now you are free you can do whatever you have to do it shows you how little, little it wasnt little after everything that I went through and what I saw mice if I may say something about that I have a girlfriend I had a girlfriend who survived in hiding on a roof I will make it very, very short and her best friends were a couple mice and she got so use to them and supposedly they got use to here because almost every once in a while they use to she was already waiting for them because for two years she didnt see nobody the food was giving to her ya know and they had a certain way she explained to me but thats a long story so I dont want to take too much time for it but she said so when I told her this story she said how could you be so cruel ya know this mice was everything that I was waiting for I knew I couldnt see a human being I couldnt talk to nobody they were my friends my best friends you see so different feelings how it happen in different situations I had story with the big tooth but that was during the war time that when I was in Russia anyway I am not going to ruin the story and now its I lived with this lady this time Russian lady who was quite good to me but this didnt like me because ya know somehow it was very, very big one and extremely dirty and I was very afraid and it use to make such a noise whenever the pig saw me made such a noise and one day I dont know what I think I was wearing something and the pig didnt like it she was ready to jump on me and I dont know if she was ready to jump on me or I really thought this way because I was running away from it and this had a very small porch and she and I was trying to get on the porch and to me it seems that she was trying to get after me again I was screaming and screaming and I says to the lady to come out and she says whats going on the pig wont do anything to you I said look she is running she or he or whatever is running after me and look how dirty it is and look how terrible it looks ya know so please keep him away from me so she put him on other side and form then on I was a little more safe I didnt see the pig anymore but then they killed it and when they killed I felt sorry for it ya know because that was in 1943 yea 1943 I am in Russia at this time yes exactly 1943 because we had already moved in the city originally I was sent for the underground we already ya know its a small little town this is in this is already not too far from the Romania border but we still dont know that much whats going on ya know we dont know too much whats going on but when I think about that now logically we could assume I in my heart thought that we were in the war ya know I think I told you about that like Mr. Scottie and he took me to the and I didnt know if they he didnt completely because it was so hard to go but I knew that they did not accomplish but in other way they gave Russia territory they didnt want to accomplish what they wanted to accomplish so my whatever what was their plans whatever they decided to do naturally I didnt know so I am in America now back in New York my husband couldnt get a job and so finally we are leaving we are not living anymore in this hotel with mice we are getting to family husband and wife and a son who just finished high school intends to go to college wonderful, wonderful family wonderful family and they offer us one room we should live there it was downtown New York City we dont know anything about the neighborhood about anything but this lady is wonderful she is Rosa and she is trying to help me in every way thats possible with language with everything and I got a job in a candy business through some my family relatives and I working there a couple days but I am not working in the front I am not attending to the customers I am working in the back and then she said I like to show you how you work with register I said no I cant I dont speak my hands are very helpful I said no no I dont want to to get to register but she said we need somebody and we will show you and it seems like youre eager to know like you are eager to know so we I said yes I am very eager to know but I dont think I would like to deal with money yet but shes my manager so I have to listen to her I am going to show you thats her answer then she has something to do in the back and its not a very busy day but anyway we have a couple customers and she helped me and it was ok and I am working the next day and she said oh you are you doing fine in my heart I know I am not doing fine because I know that I am so afraid that I will make mistake and surely I did and so it told her that you see I was not ready for it and they fire me I am working there maybe three or four days and then I am really desperate because I dont want any help from nobody I dont know anything about organizations that they were ready to help us my husband is desperate because he is not working my aunt offers help but I told her that look let me tell you something you will help me one week you will help me two weeks maybe three or four what do I do after I do need work I dont care what type of work I get if I have to scrub the floors I will do it too but I have to find our living she was very proud to hear what I said and she help me with little things but I was maybe stupid on my side because I did not I dont know I dont know what was maybe that was the reason that I didnt want because my husband was very, very ambitious person and I was afraid that it would hurt his feelings if I would take something from them that he can not provide for me and I know this would hurt him a lot so this was one of the reasons too that I said because when he told me now you make you working look at me I am not doing anything I said why would you say something like that I am working for both of us big deal so then he came in and oh it matters and we managed so I am getting a job and theyre very nice to me and I tell them right away no register no money for a while and this is when I started to work for this they had like 75 stores when I left them they had close to over 200 its a very, very famous place in New York they had stores all over not only in New York but in different places but back east they came to California too but in California they put on a sweater they had only franchise here so I told them we it was a very busy store and good store was not only selling boxes of candy but making big baskets and we make basket mostly candy but if a customer wanted something else we could add it was to their specification the way they wanted to have it in the basket but mostly candy and the basket had nice trimming with beautiful bows and so on and I decided this is something I should do for a while and I look and watch them since I was staying longer ya know hours that I didnt get even paid just to watch how they because they both have to make certain wires and all these things and I could not quite so I became the basket making lady and luckily the minute we put on my basket no not on my basket the basket it didnt take up hours it was soft so I was just useful lets put it this way and one day its a very busy its a busy store besides most of them was busy but usually it was very busy because most of the store no all the stores who were in business section were close it was a Jewish outfit there were stores closed on Saturday but after the sundown on Saturday it was open certain stores were closed for the whole weekend why because that was a section that was mostly businesses and some businesses were closed and offices were closed so didnt pay to keep it open and but it came like before the weekend especially in the summer time when the people start to go away for the weekends from the heat in new York and from just it was really really, really busy and one day its Friday managers doing in back Im working in back and the manager comes over to me and she says Nina we need you on the floor gosh I almost faint no no not here I said yes we need you on the floor you ready I said no I am not ready how could I talk to them he said may I help you its only word you have to say and they will understand you and they will help and they will point and they will help again the manager says to go on the floor I have to go on the floor and I went you cannot imagine what it was like on my heart I was so scared ya know because the job was so important to me ya know and especially important because my husband did not work yet and so I said I just have to stay here ya know I have to stay here I hope but the people were really, really very, very nice the customers were very nice and some of them even were asking me how long I am in the country and a little bit small conversation and they couldnt believe it I was only couple weeks in the country and I am already working they were very, very nice and the end of the day the man said see it wasnt so bad like you expected I said no it wasnt bad but I really felt I said thank you for after all she put up with me not knowing a lot of things but this she was really good to me in the beginning but we didnt know about that how careful we have to be with some people even they they seem very nice one day the and he said this 100 dollars was missing and they went to the tape ya know form the register and so on and so on and the tape doesnt show anything so if somebody make mistake it had to show on the tape but this tape doesnt show anything and I was only working with the register this Friday after that I wasnt working anymore because it wasnt so busy and I was more busy with the basket anyway she specifically tried to put the blame on me and somehow someway oh I forgot to mention that the very beginning that the owners of this outlet they were Danish people Vienniese Jewish people and they were very respectful people and very helpful people to refugees and this news came to this main owner and he came to the store and he start asking some questions first I dont know anything about that ya know because I was working this and the manager first I dont know anything but when he approaches me oh, she mentioned to me that we expect Mr. Cline today I said ok I didnt know him at this time and Mr. Cline came in and he introduce himself to someone and he said I like to know what really happened I dont know anything what happened I said I am working here and I am very thankful that I have the job and I am mostly working for the basket ya know the way I speak I speak now the proper English but can you imagine what the proper English I spoke this time so but he understood me and after a while he walks away and somehow as little as I understood he said she did not take the money I know it and now shes only framed she did not take the money and the manager again working this try to convince him anyway and shes still working and again something missing happens she really courageous and they found she took the money I found out later on and I was very angry and very hurt this I wanted to tell you how careful you had to be when you came how can you be stabbed in the back and not even realize whats going on and I said why did they have to do that to me why did you have to make make for me a thief I didnt want to steal money here I just came to work but now when I talk about tears come to my eyes I was hysterical crying I was so angry at her ya know I had my too ya know and when somebody hurt me so much I just didnt know how I didnt act like a lady at all anymore ya know I was why did you have to do it oh anyway we went to the police and I was cleared up in a way but it was hurting me how you can not trust nobody after all these things we went through ya know and ok 100 dollars was a lot of money this time but still I dont care if it was 100 or a dollar it was not my money she wanted to get married and she wanted to buy some things I dont know it was none of my business anyway she lost the job she had a good job and we are managing very hard very, very hard and while we are invited to some distant relatives wedding I can not afford to buy a dress I just can not afford anything so I have one dress that when they were giving some clothes to us it was a little bit more fancy and in Salzburg somehow I brought this with me and I decided to go in the dress but I said to my husband my husband so I said you have to get a suit you just have to get a suit so he said no I can not I can not ya know I said dont worry we will put because the invitation came we will put away the money somehow and we get it and the family that we lived she helped me he didnt know she helped me naturally I gave it back but that was so nice ya know because she really wanted us she wanted us to go so much more than I really cared and my husband didnt care at all he didnt know these people I didnt know them either but anyway it was nice it was nice it was one of these events that I remember and then he got a job and he got a job in new jersey in meat factory so he had to leave in order to get the train from New York to new jersey he had to leave 4 oclock in morning and took about 2 hours because by 6 o clock he had to be on the job and 4 oclock he left or sometimes later so we didnt see each other at all because 4 oclock in the morning I was still trying to sleep anyway because I had to get up early to because I had to go to my work but it was good because we were trying to build up a new life we were come to another little disappointments but I will talk tell to myself quite often you have to forget your life before the war it was not easy because I had it so good and everything was so spoiled on account of the war that sometimes I was that maybe that six years of the war was just a terrible dream and I can go back to my life that was before the war but when I woke up I knew that it would never happen I just have to live with this today it was very difficult because you saw already as more as you were exposed to see different life in America, different people you say gee I had it almost maybe in not the same way maybe in a different way, but I had it and everything was lost and the most of this, naturally, was family. I think I told you about it when we were invited to thanksgiving dinner and a couple months I dont think we came to America in may so that was the first time we were invited to thanksgiving dinner. The whole family came. I just couldnt stay each time I was running away to the bathroom to wipe off my eyes because I was crying and it was a beautiful dinner with beautiful stuff and beautiful food and everything they ask me are you sick I said no Im fine Im fine I was not sick physically but I was so sick in my heart. I was happy for this, I mean not happy, but I was satisfied with some people and enjoyed to know what happiness means. By this time I didnt know the only happiness was my husband who was so wonderful to me, but it was not jealousy because I was not jealous I use to come to beautiful home and furnish I said I have it it doesnt impress me, but the family, I had it and I lost. The other things that I lost I could do without them, but when I lost the family, its hard to do without them, very hard. So, we go on the best way we can and were living very economically. My husband has difficult job. I mean hes good in his job. This I dont have to worry, but it was the traveling and now we have the summer. The summer is very, very hot, very muggy and we are not used to this because we come from a climate that had four seasons like New York had but different type of seasons. We never entered this type of a heat and hes really very uncomfortable and its not good for him to because here working with me so he goes to the ice boxes and then he goes out of the heat, ya know, so differences in temperature attacks him too. That worries me a lot and I knew he is not a person who would like to work for somebody. He has to do something on his own. So, very early, I suggested to my husband, ya know daddy, we have to live on one salary and we try to manage with one salary and the other salary we have to put away and that will be the foundation for doing something on your own, whatever you decided to do. He said how will we manage? How will we manage? I said, "We will manage. Dont worry about it. We will manage. We managed until now. We will manage." And this is the way we started. His salary was a little bigger. When I started to work, I started to work at 75 cents for an hour, but I was doing one thing that was difficult for me. No, maybe not even difficult, but like I said before, this was a religious outfit. So, Saturday it was closed. Saturday night was open. A lot of girls did not want to work Saturday because they wanted to go on a date. A lot of girls didnt want to work Sunday because then wanted to go to church and be with families and so what. So, whenever somebody didnt work, I was there. I was going to different stores. It wasnt at my own store. I was going to different stores. So, Saturday I work after the Saturday Sabbath is over so I am working until 12 oclock midnight. So, always some days I worked like a full day so I use to get time and a half. Sunday, I used to get double time, so I was working some days 60-65 hours a week, but I did not mind that because I figured look this extra money was so wonderful. And so we were able to manage on my salary and his salary we were putting away. And I said, "Dont you dare to touch it. Dont you dare to touch it," because he always said, "Oh, I have to buy something for you." I said, "No, you are making me angry." Finally I said, "I need the check," and I put it away, ya know. After half a year, when his boss came to him, he said, "Joe, I have some good news for you." He had some news for him too, but he said, "I have some good news for you." He said, "Okay, what is the good news?" We want to make you a farmer. You are a good worker. You are very ambitious. You are very smart. SO, he said "Thank you so much, but I have to tell you something. I dont know if it is very good news or not, but I am going on my own." He couldnt believe it and we didnt have any other money. So, I did not go to my own family. No. And my husband, never. Once he needed barely 200 hundred dollars. He never told me go to your family, they will help me. They would. Never. He said, "Do you remember what you told me? We have to do it on our own. We are going to do it on our own. But we couldnt do it completely on our own. So, the family that we lived with, they helped us. We borrowed some from them. But exactly to the year, everything was paid off. So, he opened business, and do you know something about New York? It was on Orchad Street, not far from Valencia. And this time I used to work already. I had my steady store and I had to work on Valencia, but Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes I used to different stores, but they were trying to keep me already in the store for good. And so that was not too far because we use to live on Gren Street so it was very convenient.
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