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Rochelle Rubin

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INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Interviewee: ROCHELLE RUBIN
Interviewer:Cary Levy
Interview Date: June 1, 2019
Location: West Bloomfield, MI
Interview No.: 06.01.19-RR (audio digital file)
(Approximate total length 42 minutes)
Transcription: Yousaidit (DS), Fiverr

Themes: Jewish Identity, Holocaust, Immigration, Observance, Upbringing

Summary: Rochelle Rubin’s parents met in a displaced persons camp near Dachau concentration camp. Both of her parents had spouses and children who had died in concentration camps or in Siberia. She describes herself as Jewish by culture, by tradition, by religion but not by faith. She says, I believe prayer has to do with communication with yourself and making yourself a better person. She conducts tours at the Detroit Holocaust Center.

Example of proper citation/ attribution:
Levy, C. (Interviewer) & Rubin, R. (Interviewee). (2019) Rochelle Rubin: Jewish
Journeys
[Interview transcript]. Retrieved from Jewish Journeys Oral History Collection of Congregation Shir Tikvah:
https://shirtikvah.org/cstoralhistoryarchive

 

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Start [00:00:00]

Interviewer: [00:00:00] The name of the Interviewee is Rochelle Rubin. Today is June 1st. The place is Rochelle's home in West Bloomfield. We reviewed and signed the agreement for the interview. Do I have your permission for this audio interview?

Interviewee: Yes.

Interviewer: Okay. Thank you very much for the interview. Can you please explain how your parents met in the circumstances of your birth?

Interviewee: My parents met in a displaced persons camp near Dachau concentration camp [inaudible 00:00:32] I think it was, actually a sort of a villa. They were pretty lucky because their displaced persons camp was nicer than some of the others. They met there after the war. They were both-- their were spouses but both their spouses had been killed, or died during the war. My father's wife had died in Siberia. My mother's husband was killed in Auschwitz. And they met and after they were married there, I was born in 1948.

Interviewer: Okay. Do you know how long they had met each other in the camp?

Interviewee: They came to camp in 1945 at the end of the war. I have no idea when they actually met. I do have, I think, their marriage certificate somewhere but I don't really know when they met.

Interviewer:Do they meet before the camp by any chance or So it was three years probably?

Interviewee: Yeah, at most. It might have been three weeks. People were marrying as quickly as they could at that point so they just start their lives again.

Interviewer: Okay. Can you tell me your mother's upbringing and family life before the war?

Interviewee: Yeah. My mother was born and grew up in a very small town called Konstantynow  up in Poland. It was just very small almost a shtetl probably, and she was the youngest of eight children. When she got married, she moved to a little bit smaller town called Padianice. Poland, again is in Poland. It was near Lodz, it was not that very far from Lodz, maybe a half an hour drive from the larger town of Lodz. She had three sons. The youngest was about, probably three when the war started. The oldest was probably around 12 or 13 when the war started. All three were murdered by the Nazis, My father: Before the war, he had a daughter. His daughter, his wife and his mother were all put on a train to go into Siberia, when the Germans came. His daughter survived, she is still alive. She lives now in Berlin. He did not see her again until 1970, because after the war, Stalin was in power and Stalin was killing anybody who came back from the west. And so he tried to get her out, but was unsuccessful in maintaining contact or getting around. So he didn't see her again until Brezhnev came into control and allowed people from the West to visit.

Interviewer: Okay, and she was brought up by--

Interviewee: She was brought up by my father had three sisters and two brothers-- two sisters and two brothers. The sisters were murdered, the two brothers survived. One survived by going into Russia with the Lithuanian government and the other by being in the Russian army. And so they both survived and they ended up raising her when she came back after the war.

Interviewer:Sorry. Are you and your half sister the longest surviving people in the family right?

Interviewee: Yeah, I am the only child of my mother and father. And my father's daughter, my half sister is still alive, living in Germany.

Interviewer: And you get to visit her?

Interviewee:We do, and we Skype regularly. I'm not real good about it because she doesn't speak in English. And so I speak Yiddish with her and my Yiddish is very rusty. So there's a lot of hand gestures with Skype I was trying to explain my leg injury to her. And it was-- I literarily lift my leg up and show on Skype and point to where it was, before I could communicate with them what happened. It's a challenge.

Interviewer:Do you know where your parents, both in big Jewish, neighborhoods, ghettos or when they were growing up?

[00:05:00]

Interviewee: Oh, absolutely, yeah absolutely. It was a large Jewish [00:05:00] community. My father was originally from a small town called Padianice. Not Padianice, I'm sorry, Vesejai in Lithuania. My mother was Padianice. It was Vesejai. And we did go back there and visit with his brother. And he was in a band he played the clarinet and he showed me where he played the clarinet on stage. And he took me on tour to the synagogue, where synagogue was and where the chader was and everything. So there was a very nice. It was a Jewish community, a large Jewish community and in both of the places. In [unintelligible 00:05:38] where my mother basically live from the time she was 16. She got married at 16 so she was there for a large part of her adult life and my father as well. Now my father then left Vesejai after he got married. And he went to Kovno (Kaunas)   Lithuania. And when he was in Kovno, he was a teacher in the OORT. He and his brother were teachers in the OORT and he taught locksmithing. His father had been a blacksmith. And when his father had died, [unintelligible 00:06:15] my father was the oldest. He took over the blacksmithing business and learned how to do all that kind of metalwork. In fact, when we went back to Vesejai, we had the chance to go up into the upstairs part of the house that they used to live in. And all the things that he had made, stone that he had made, all the metalwork that he made was actually still there.

Interviewer: So your parents were both within the disasters of the war, lost all their children except for you and one daughter. Other children except for one daughter that remained in Siberia.

Interviewee: My father didn't have any children he just have one daughter. And my mother is the one who lost all of her children.

Interviewer:Okay. And they met in the displacement camp, and some period, less than three years got married. And then you were born, and then the family migrated to America.

Interviewee: 1949 we immigrated here. My father here had an aunt, that lived in Lafayette, Indiana. And she sponsored us and we came and lived with her for a. period of time. I was nine months old when I came here.

Interviewer:Okay. And then your father found employment.

Interviewee: My father, his aunt's husband ran a used parts business, a junkyard essentially. And he put my father to work there, outside in the junkyard part because my father's English was not very good and he didn't want him in the store. My father did speak seven languages, and was highly educated, but he put him in the junkyard.

Interviewer: Okay. I knew my next question was what languages did you speak at home?

Interviewee: Yiddish.

Interviewer: Everybody in your house speakers Yiddish?

Interviewee: Hmm-hmm.

Interviewer: Okay, and you learn English just by being on the street?

Interviewee: Just by being a human being in the world, yeah.

Interviewer: Okay. And obviously the effects of world war two must have had a big effect on your parents. And how do you think that shaped their new view of the world and their view

Interviewee: View of the world, I mean I'm not sure what you mean by view of the world,

Interviewer: Well, I mean were they-- do you think that strengthen their Judaism, or the church and their Judaism were they--?

Interviewee:My father was always a participant. I don't think my father was ever. My father say to me, "God doesn't need us we need God". So I think he believed that Judaism was important for people. And so he always, I mean he was-- there was a very small in Lafayette, very small conserva-dox shul, and both of them are always very active participants in that. I never felt that they were really religious. Like they weren't really, I never felt like the whole idea of-- I mean, for example, they didn't keep kosher because, to keep kosher that's go all the way to Chicago to get kosher meat. So, you know, that was more than they were willing to do. But yet they would never in a million years-- I would say they're very traditionally Jewish always. [00:10:00] But I never felt like you know, we didn't-- My mother lit candles every Friday night, but it wasn't like they were shomer shabbas or anything. So, and I can't tell you how if that affected them in terms of their observance because I don't know what it was before.

[00:10:35]

Interviewer: The fact that they were now free, were they more optimistic or pessimistic because of the past.

Interviewee: My parents suffered very much from guilt of survivorship. There was no way they were optimistic about anything. I mean, my mother didn't sleep at night ever. She lost her children. My father lived with guilt about his brother when the [unintelligible 00:10:44] group and came to the  [unintelligible 00:10:44] group ghetto, which is where he was. It was in a  [unintelligible] ghetto they separate everybody to two groups. Half of them were taken to the night before the workstation and shot. And that was his brother, and he always felt that he should have done something to stop and get his brother into the good side, and he never got that. I didn't know at that point in time nobody knew about PTSD, but without a doubt they both suffer from PTSD. And my father did not talk about anything until he was 80-years-old. When he was 80, he did an audio tape for Purdue University about his whole life and that's the only way I know any of that. My mother used to talk little bits and pieces and stories and she would tell me things but my father refused to talk about anything.

Interviewer: Okay. And, would they stay home or were they afraid of the world?

Interviewee:[crosstalk] with Jewish community. I mean, I know they were-- life in Indiana was a weird place to be because we were just very different from everybody else. Yeah, I mean we were the only-- there was one other survivor family that they were both hidden children. So they did not share. And when they came, where it was Jewish and non Jewish community people told them. They'll just, "Oh, you know, you should be very happy. You survived, get over it, don't talk about it, live your new life." They were never encouraged to try to deal with any of it. And so it was very much locked inside. So yeah, no, I think that in terms of, you know, my father's aunt had-- her husband had a large family. And so there were lots of family events and things going on. So he had seven brothers and, they had, you know, the aunt had all the family events and seders, and everything else so we were always included in all of that. And my father had an uncle that lived in Indianapolis, Indiana, who also had eight kids. And so there were lots of family events that we went to Indianapolis for. So there were lots of simchas and family events and weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs. So we visited those people regularly and then we were immersed in them. I mean, we had-- all of our neighbors were not Jewish, and my mother didn't drive. So she definitely—whatever world she had was what she could see outside her door.

Interviewer: Do they simulate or pick up English or anything where their spoken English?

Interviewee: Yeah, my father but never because-- my mother probably spoke English a little better than my father did because she was talking to neighbors and other non Jewish people more than he did. My father because he was down in the junkyard, he worked seven days a week, and he didn't deal with customers. He was the one that took apart. If someone said I need the axle from a 1948 Buick, he's the one that would take it apart and, bring in the axle or whatever part people needed. Because that was when they sold used parts from all these cars that were down in the junkyard. So we never really had much chance to learn English. But he spoke English. I mean, it wasn't-- it was always a little bit... I have this audio tape of him and he speaks English with a thick accent. Both of them did. But he also spoke to 7 languages, and could write all of them.

Interviewer: Okay. Did you feel different from the other kids?

Interviewee:[unintelligible 00:14:42]

Interviewer: Okay. And you left for college, or when did you leave?

Interviewee: Yeah, I went to Purdue first. In did my first two years in Purdue University, and then I transferred to University of Michigan.

Interviewer: Okay. And that's where you met your husband, Barry?

Interviewee: Yes, that where I met Barry.

[00:15:00]

Interviewer: Okay. [00:15:00] And how long did you date before you got married?

Interviewee: I went up there and probably two years, off and on. I met him when we moved up there. I met him on election night 1968. And we got married August of 1970.

Interviewer:Okay. And I know you're very active in synagogue life now or have been. When you were dating, was that an important part of your life or was it not as important?

Interviewee: Well, when I was dating we were at U of M (Michigan). I don't know, I guess you're asking did we participate in Hillel or anything like that. No, not really. I did when I was in Lafayette, and I did go to the Hillel at Purdue regularly but mostly so I could hear voice.

Interviewer: Okay.

Interviewee:I mean, there were not that many Jewish students at Purdue University so it was tough to be in a balance that was Jewish, which is why I went to U of M. I did a mathematical formula of Jewish population versus miles away from home because our parents didn't want me to leave. So I did convince them that this was the closest University that had a significant Jewish population. And that if they ever wanted me to marry someone that was Jewish, I had to leave Purdue University.

Interviewer: So you found Jewish Barry.

Interviewee: I found Jewish Barry, yeah.

Interviewer: Okay, so you always have a strong Jewish feeling. And did you ever, ever doubt your Jewishness because of your parents’ history and all the terrible things?

Interviewee:  No. Never, Before I met Barry I was going to go live in Israel. I had a fellowship at the Weizmann, which I gave up because Barry was not interested in going to Israel.

Interviewer: Okay. That had a good Jewish percentage.

Interviewee: Yes, that was after I graduate. That was like a post, after graduation.

Interviewer: How did you try to pass on your Judaism to your kids, your sons and your grandsons?

[bell ring]

Interviewee: We've always belonged to a congregation, from the time they were old enough to go to religious school. We joined the congregation. They were in religious school from the time of preschool. All the way through graduation, they both graduated. We have always observed, done, all the Jewish holidays. I would have liked to have done more at home, but both of the boys were very active in sports which always gotten away with Shabbat. Because, almost all of the sporting events and things were Fridays and Friday nights. And so we were always together as a family but we're usually in a restaurant. Actually we were always at Bill Knapp’s with Barry’s mother. Barry's mother was the only grandparent they had, because both of my parents died but the children were very young. My parents died in 1982 and 1984. So, they didn't really know any grandparents except Barry's mother and so, you know, we would-- She came to every sporting event, she came to every game, to everything. We went together as a family. It was just usually watching some football or baseball or basketball or something together.

Interviewer: And your grandsons.

Interviewee: My grandsons, what about them?

Interviewer: Passing on any Jewish tradition to them?

Interviewee: Yeah. No, they are both are being raised Jewish. That was what the agreement before they got married. My daughter in law is not Jewish, but are being raised Jewish. My oldest grandson is 12 and he's preparing now for his Bar Mitzvah.

Interviewer: Which will be a great thing.

[00:20:00] 

Interviewee: Which will be a great thing, be a year from now. Now they have joined a congregation. They had not joined—up until two years ago they had not joined a congregation, but they were trying to give the kids Jewish education on their own. In terms of like a number of families that [00:20:00] were mixed heritage Jewish and non-Jewish with a non-Jewish spouse. They had hired teachers from the Hillel. We went over to the Hillel for Brown and they had students come and teach so they said that it wasn't very effective. The kids weren't learning much of anything. So then Shawn started teaching them. He took one of the classes and then he started teaching and then decided that wasn't very effective. So then they did join this temple two years ago, and they’re continuing with that. So they stuck with that with the temple. And they don't go to Friday night services at all but they have Shabbat dinner every Friday night. There's another couple that also again, the husband isn't Jewish the wife is, and they alternate one week at their house, and one week at the other house, and they’d have a Shabbat dinner every Friday night.

Interviewer: It’s a nice tradition.

Interviewee: Yes. And they're going back to have a joint-- They have a daughter, that's my oldest grandson’s age and they're going to have a joint Bar/Bat Mitzvah together. And the wife of the other couple is very, very organized and creative and I’m sure she will write the whole service.  She will develop and write the whole service.

Interviewer: It is something to look forward to.

Interviewer: Yeah, I think meeting the other couple was a real boom for them. It made something they weren't doing just on their own.

Interviewer: Okay. Have you ever had doubted your Judaism at all? No never?

Interviewee: No.

Interviewer: Nothing ever shook your Judaism?

Interviewee: I mean I don't know what that means. I mean I'm Jewish by culture, by tradition, by religion but I don't, I wouldn't say that I've ever been—I’m probably more of an agnostic Jew. I don't necessarily believe in literal, you know-- the Red Sea did not really part for me. I'm not sure it parted. I'm pretty sure there’s a lot of messages there but I like the message-- I'm very attached to Israel. I'm very attached to being Jewish, it's who I am.

Interviewer: That's good. Do you remember have a moment when your Judaism shined, a burning bush moment, or someone or calling your faith to get you something?

Interviewee: I don't think I'm Jewish with faith. I don't think there's faith, it's not a faith thing. I don't, I don't, I don't believe that prayer has anything to do with communication with a god. I believe prayer has to do with communication with yourself and making yourself a better person. So no, I would say that. And one of the things I like about Judaism is that faith is not a criteria. You know in Christianity. Faith is a big part of it. Even I talked about that in Judaism, it's more about what you do and not what you believe. And if you live a just life, then according to the laws of Torah and the justice that you're a good Jew. Whether you believe, and have faith or not, whereas in other religions faith is a critical element. So I think that's one of the things I like. Particularly about being Jewish is that there's no requirement that I actually have faith to be that-- Even if you're orthodox, you really don't have to have faith, you just have to observe a whole lot more commandments. [laughs]

Interviewer: Okay. I know your parents have obviously witnessed the worst of anti-Semitism. Do you think you've ever witnessed any anti-Semitism in your life?

Interviewee: For sure. For sure

Interviewer: Recently or [crosstalk]

[00:25:00]

Interviewee: Well surely in Indiana. All the time. I told you that the students where I go through to do my tours at the Holocaust center is when one of my classmates, asked if I could part my hair for her so she could see my horns. Because she had learned that the reason men wear little pats on their head is to protect their horns. And so I had explained to her that we probably I was probably like eight or nine years old. This is like, so I definitely don't forget. But, yeah, after that there was always anti-Semitism, there was always you know-- And one of the things that I did was, I've always was very visibly Jewish in my non-Jewish world. I worked in Waterford, which is also a non-Jewish community. We lived in Pontiac and raise the kids in Pontiac and so we're always very visibly Jewish. [00:25:00] The boys, for example, we go in and do little classes for the class of what you know on the holidays. And they would come in and explain Passover and they would come in and light candles for the kids and show them what things were. And I did the same thing. I always wore my Jewish star, or my outside and when someone-- I guess I always felt like people are anti-Semitic because they don't know anything with Jewish. I always wanted to be a Jewish person that people knew. You know, Michelle Obama in her book talks a lot about racism and she said, "One of the things that she learned is it's hard to hate up close." And I always felt that part of the issue that I wanted people to know me as a person, and then I was a Jewish person. So I was very, very, you know-- I used Yiddish expressions all the time with my non-Jewish friends. I don't think there's a Jewish and non-Jewish person that I haven't talked with or lived around that didn't know what the word slepped meant or didn't know, you know, different Jewish words. I mean, I would be talking about a kena hora and they would see me spitting at things that this is what I was, this is who I was, and this is what it meant to be Jewish. And so I was very-- I never, ever-- like I know that a lot of my other friends that actually, there were a couple of other Jewish teachers in Waterford who would never ever worn their stars outside.

Interviewer: So you were visibly Jewish

Interviewee: Very intentionally, visibly Jewish.

Interviewer: Okay. Tell me about your volunteering at the Holocaust Center. When did you start?

Interviewee: I started about two years after it opened. It's probably been close to 30 years now. Now that I want to go back upstairs again, they wanted to know the exact date. It's probably around 30 years and I can't remember the exact date. But after my parents died, and they opened up there, Barry was the one that said, "Why did you go and see about being a docent?" And it's funny, people say, "Why did you come docent in the front a lot of the people or I want to teach people?" I was already teaching. And then I was working with young people. I did it to honor my parents, and to really keep their memory alive. And so I started doing it back then, and I've been doing it ever since.

Interviewer: How often do you give tours?

Interviewee: When I was still working, I did Sunday tours about once, about twice a month. Now I do about once a week and then I am also on the docent advisory committee that meets about a couple of times a month.

Interviewer: You must have met thousands of people and told the story thousand of time.s

Interviewee: Yes. Lot of students, I prefer student groups-- when I was teaching I did the public tours on Sundays. But now I really like getting contact with kids.

Interviewer: It must like you make you feel good to tell your parents story.

Interviewee: Yeah, I integrate my parents’ story into what I'm doing. But mostly it's not about my parents, it's really about-- We have a new education director and the real direction now is much more about helping other people understand that we all make choices every day, and the choices that you make really impact the things that happen, and that you really have to be brave. Be mindful about the choices we make, and the choices around us. And so we focus a lot on choices and choiceless choices that people had to make during the Holocaust. And then I'll integrate my parents’ story a little bit in that but it's not so much about them as it is about helping people understand that this is the kinds of things that hatred can happen. As a result of of hatred

Interviewer: Okay. Can you tell me when you first started to tell the story, you cried a little bit?

[00:30:00]

Interviewee: Yeah. I couldn't get all the way through a tour. It took me two years. It was funny because I went through the first year of training and I couldn't go do a tour. They thought I was shy but I stand up and teach and talk in front of people all the time. I don't have any trouble talking in front of an audience, but I couldn't get through the tour, without  crying. This is-- particularly there was at the original center they don't use this one now as part of the everyday tour. [00:30:00] But there was a 10 minute video of some survivors and some of their stories were just way too similar to my parents stories. And I could never go in and stand. I had to wait outside while everyone watched the video. And then after they came out I could continue my tour, but I was never able to go inside. Just stand inside and watch the video and then come back and talk. Something I could not do. And I still get verklempt every once in a while….

Interviewer: Brings back some memories. And when did you find Shir Tikvah or how did you find Shir Tikvah. How did that come by?

Interviewee: We were shul shopping, and we had had been at Temple Kol Ami for about 15/18 years. And we started shul shopping because we wanted to make a change. And we came in and Rabbi Arnie, basically, you know how he is. We thought we were going to sit in the back and observe what was going on and that was just not what he did back then. He would be in your face right away saying, "Hi. How are you? And who are you and welcome and we were drawn in right anyway.

Interviewer: Okay. I didn't hear that.

Interviewee: The community was just so--Everybody was just so happy to see us, even though they didn’t know who we were. And it was lovely.

Interviewer: Any stories from when Barry was president? I know you guys are very active and know that lots of incredible things happened under your watch. The new Torah, a bunch of other things which you must be very proud of.

Interviewee: Yeah, I think that Barry contributed quite a bit in the time that he was…

Interviewer: I think you both did.

Interviewee: I'm a little less of a committee person. I do a little bit more of that now that I’m on the docent steering committee and stuff. Because so much of my job for the last 20 years was sitting in meetings, because when I was no longer in the classroom and I was working on staff development, there were a lot of meetings. And the last thing I wanted to do was go and have another meeting. And I'm still the kind of person, give me something to do but don't give us something to talk about. Barry is now very active on Detroit Jewish for justice, and he goes to a lot of meetings now it's also on the social action committee. And I say to him when you have something you want me to go and do, if you need me to canvas or write a letter or go on a march I'm there. But I'm not sitting in another meeting to talk about what we're going to do. Make a decision, tell me what to do. And I think Barry-- one of the things back when he was on the board I think one of the things he's proudest of is being more action oriented with the board. I mean, he used to say, "If we can't come to a decision in two hours we're out of here." So the idea of just talking about things, I think, was something that Barry really tried to not have when he was on the board but to really talk about, so how are we going to do this? And I think that's why the Torah Alive thing happened. It was about  implementation. How do you go from talking to doing? And I think both of us feel really strongly in that. And I think that's what I'm proud of that I think that a lot of things actually did get done, which is nice,

Interviewer: Give me any other stories. Do you want to tell us about anything?

Interviewee: Stories about Shir Tikvah, about Shir Tikvah I think one of the things that was very powerful when I was more active. I was on synagogue 2000, and people reached out to us as new members. I mean, I was coming off the synagogue situation where I wasn't active anymore. I wasn't going to services anymore, my kids were gone. I wasn't on any committees any more. We used to be a religious school committee, we were very active at Kol Ami, on the religious school committee chairpersons doing all that, and that just faded out for a variety of reasons. I wasn't looking to become active again. And people reached out to me and said, "Will you join synagogue 2000? We need people like you. We need new members." People reached out to me for me to be on the dinner groups. People reached out to me to get Barry to get him to be involved. And I think that I see less of that. I don't see people reaching out to [00:35:00] people anymore to get them to really be part of the community. So that's, I think that's a story I'd say. I was very glad that people reached out to me when they did and made me a part of the Shir Tikvah community.

[00:35:00]

Interviewer: What did you learn on Synagogue 2000, or what did you take away from?

Interviewee: A lot of things. I guess that really that whole idea of that idea that Jewish journey, and that we're always growing and changing and learning and you want to keep learning. And then also the power of community, and the power of study because we always-- In synagogue 2000 we always go back to some text and there was always some reading involved. And it got me to the point where I took Melton. Because that whole idea of continuing to learn and grow, about my learning or about my Judaism and growing and learning about the connections, became more important to synagogue 2000. And so, I credit that to me starting Melton. I credit that to me also taking some classes through Federation now and wanting to do that can be continuing to learn and grow. And also, just being more and reading more, being part of the social justice book groups and stuff. So, I mean I'm for both groups, I didn't need another social justice Book Group, to read and wanted to talk about the connections that different issues have with my Judaism. It's something that I do more of, than I probably did before I joined synagogue 2000.

Interviewer: Okay. And you have some the other extended family throughout the world that you visit occasionally?

Interviewee: Yeah, my mother-- well first of all, my father did have two brothers that survived and we did go visit both of them before they passed away.

Interviewer: Where was that at?

Interviewee:One had left for Israel when Lithuania became independent. He had been part of the original government. He thought he had to leave so he went to Israel. And the other one, in Lithuania went with my sister and her son. And we took a train and we went into Lithuania right after the wall came down and saw him, three times. Twice in Lithuania and then he also went to Israel and we went to see him twice in Israel. We saw him a number of times, the younger one. He was the youngest brother and we saw him a number of times. In fact Shawn, when he  did a year abroad, he went to Israel. And after he finished at the University of Tel Aviv, he actually lived with my father's brother for a while. And it was a great experience for him, because they will be—Neither one of them really knew Hebrew. So they talked baby Hebrew, table chair, book. My uncle didn't speak English and Shawn didn't speak Yiddish very much except you know, shayna punim

                              So they communicated as he called baby Hebrew.

Interviewer:And who's in Paris?

Interviewee: In Paris, my mother had, I again being the youngest of eight, she had two sisters survive. And one of those sisters was from Paris, and that sister had, children and grandchildren, great grandchildren. One of her daughters is still alive but she's 20 years older than I am because, you know-- So there is,  I had 22 cousins in Paris. And it's more than that now because they had more chances. I Probably got about 27 cousins in Paris, because then one of the brothers’ wife survived and children survived, the brother died. I never met the brother but his wife I did meet and two daughters. Well, the one daughter has two daughters so each of us has three kids. So blah, be blah, so right now what I have is two first cousins that are still alive in Paris, and all of their offspring; children and grandchildren, great grandchildren, great, great grandchildren even for some of them. So we go about every four or five years.

[00:40:00]

Interviewer: If it wasn't for the war there'd be hundreds of them.

Interviewee: For sure, yeah exactly. There would have been a lot more and there are probably [00:40:00] And there probably are some that are still around.  What is interesting, I just got an email from, on my father's side, my fourth cousin once removed. He had done this genealogy tree, and has found all the way back to like great, great, great grandparents. And so he has emailed me and connected me. And I also got a connection recently from my cousin from the old Indianapolis family that I lost touch with. She wants to do this genealogy thing. So it's a new connections are starting to happen that I never even knew existed. But I'm sure that there are people out there that are still around that I don't know that they are around but most would.

Interviewer: Do you ever traveled to meet Barry's family? Does Barry's have family around the world?

Interviewee:No, his families are all here. But we did go to Lithuania, my mother's once elder sister was in London, and we went to see her a number of times. She was the oldest-- no she wasn't the oldest. Well, she was much older than my mother. So we went to see her a number of times that I took my mother to visit both of her sisters on one of the trips. And they both have come here to see us after the war. [clear throat] Excuse me. The one in London had two kids, neither of them married or had any children. So I don't have very much contact with them anymore.

Interviewer: Okay. Well, thank you for this interview. It was very very interesting story, wonderful story. Well, thank you very much.

Interviewee: You're welcome. Thank you for doing this.

 [00:41:57.00]

 

[End of Recorded Material]

Mon, April 12 2021 30 Nisan 5781